You're right; I haven't updated in way too long. Let's rectify that. :)
Not much is going on, really, which is why I haven't updated. I was kind of frustrated last week because I only had one day available for riding -- work, haircut, game, et cetera. So I rode, but I would have liked to have more than one day to do it in. We'd started practicing counter canter in our dressage lesson two weeks ago, and although we could do the exercise okay, I wanted to get better at it.
The exercise was, like soooooo many other things horse-related, deceptively simple. Canter along one long side, make two good, balanced corners into and out of the short side, then canter one loop (KXH) off the second long side, returning to the second short side with a good, balanced corner in. Do this a few times, then do it on the other side, looping FXM. We were better on the right lead, only falling out of the canter once or twice. Once I figured out how to use my outside leg and seatbone a little better, we improved.
Still, I really felt and continue to feel like we need more practice. I need more practice.
The Sunday lesson after that was an indoor jumping lesson, yay! :) I had a great time, even if it'd been a while since we jumped and I was a little creaky. Reveille is a star, for sure. The primary things we worked on were me getting to soften my contact correctly three or four strides out from the fence -- more like three, sometimes two, in the indoor arena. Reveille really prefers that I soften quite a bit on the approach, but I absolutely have to be present and firm with my seat and leg. She has a cute jump, and I can really affect it with my riding. So that was fun. We did a few really tight turns, too, that made me really glad Rev is a sports car of a horse. :)
So one ride later, we had another lesson, this time doing a hurry-scurry pattern over ground poles. (Looking around Google, it seems like "hurry-scurry" isn't quite the right name, but *shrug*.) It's a cloverleaf pattern, basically. Put four ground poles in the middle of the arena in a + shape, with about two feet of space between the inner corners. Track left; trot (or canter) over one of the poles; track left and make a small, balanced 3/4 circle; trot over the next pole, going perpendicular to your last track; repeat until you've made two complete cloverleaves.
This looks easy. Don't be fooled. It's quite difficult to maintain pace, balance, rhythm, smoothness, bend, and position. Once you do, then you canter. :) So my takeaway from the lesson was twofold: first, no floating hands. Shorten my reins enough to be useful with small motions, then plop them on her neck and leave them there. Guide her with my balance and seat. Basic idea, right? Harder than it seems. Second, work on smoothing everything out. Make the lines straight, the turns balanced and even. Again, harder than it seems! Must practice this too.
I didn't do a lesson on Sunday, owing to feeling crappy, and didn't ride yesterday for the same reason. So more to be posted later, eh? :)
Incidentally, that "more" will include pictures of our NEW FIVE STAR BRIDLE!!! Matt sent it for Christmas, and I am utterly ecstatic. It's gorgeous -- the Waverly fits Rev beautifully, and the proportions are lovely on her (big ol') head. She's got a clunky head, all the better to hold the brains, but elegant, slim bridles just don't look good on her. That sort of thing makes her look like a draft horse with an Arabian-style bridle on.
So. Pictures soon. Of lovely horse in lovely tack!