Monday, April 25, 2011
In the Arena #71 - Discretion being the better part of valor...
I must confess, I left a little something out of my last post. My ride on Saturday was actually a lesson from a different trainer. My boarder's trainer who was visiting from PA for the week. I had to take advantage of getting instruction with my horse in my arena. But somehow it felt a little bit like cheating on my trainer, and I wanted to mention it to her, before writing about it in my blog. She was cool with it...whew!
So - as I already related in my last post, the lesson went really well, but wasn't without it's intricacies. I was pretty nervous. Really nervous. There's something to be said for the trust you develop with someone you've ridden with for many years. I trust my trainer. I know that she has my best interests, and the best interests of my horse uppermost in her mind. Then there were the inevitable differences in theory and position. I feel like I succeeded at separating the valuable bits from the parts that contradicted, with out flipping out, or offending the visiting trainer. The best part of the experience was working in my own arena, and having someone push me way past my comfort zone. We broke new ground for sure.
Thrilled to report Saturday's magic carried over to today's ride. Forward. Tons of trot... no stickiness. Smooth changes of rein, rode into and through the corners, figure eights and weaving the cones. I can really see the difference when I support Val with the inside leg to outside rein. He feels better balanced already. No surprise, when he doesn't have to compensate for my interference so much. We're navigating contact too. While he's not reaching the reins from me just yet, he does seem to be appreciating my efforts to be consistent.
We worked in two point as well. After reading Grey Horse Matters' post on two point (with the very helpful diagram) I realize I have sooo far to go with this exercise. My balance is nowhere near what it needs to be... oh well, no pain, no gain. We finished up with halt trot transitions. Val treated me to several very square halts.
Afterwords some grazing, in the Bermuda Triangle, where for once, something scary actually did come crashing out of the woods behind us. A deer? Val leaped right into me, but caught himself and just brushed my shoulder with his shoulder. It was a very agile move, thank goodness. While I wish that he didn't feel so spooky out of our arena sometimes, he does seem to be a little more thoughtful about scary stimulus, and much more aware of me, in relation to his escape route. I'll take that as progress, and a sign that little by little he is trusting me to be the leader, and of course keep us safe from the myriad dangers lurking around every corner... don't worry Val, I won't let anything happen to you, I promise!