Monday, February 11, 2013

Direction! Focus!

I really missed being in regular lessons.  I get so much out of weekly lessons -- seems like an obvious statement, but there you have it.  Focus, direction, and feedback are so critical for me.

Last Sunday we worked mostly on getting Apollo to lengthen his neck from wither to poll and drop his head,  and that was my one piece of homework: keep working on the stretch.  It's kind of funny, because stretchy is Apollo's favorite thing.  However, when one of us gets distracted for whatever reason we lose that.  Lessons distract Apollo, and practicing with other horses in the arena distracts me.   Fortunately, Apollo and I both work out of being distracted in lessons.   It's the human brain that causes the problems, as usual!

So I worked at it, and this Sunday showed improvement.  We continued work on stretching, which came easier this time.  MT asked me to do it a different way than I had been while practicing; I suspect my reins are too soft in practice.  Then again, Apollo does relax and stretch well with that soft rein contact, so I will work on the new way and see how it develops.  Then we moved into both improving the push from behind in the trot and making smooth walk/trot and trot/walk transitions, maintaining contact all the way through.   Apollo has this habit of coming to a crashing halt at what I think of as my half-halt; he had been trained to respond immediately to a very small tummy-tightening move.  What we're looking for is a more balanced walk transition, more like prepare - sit up - close leg - walk without falling on his face or falling into a lethargic walk..  And that's this week's homework: practice finessing those transitions.  Not just making them, but making them smooth and connected.  Like butta.

We worked in the canter some as well.  Not much, but enough for me to foul up the aid a few times and stop myself, fix it, and try again.   I think working on Apollo's relaxation through his neck in the canter is on the list  for things to work on in the near future -- right after getting the canter transitions sorted, which won't take too long, I think.

Anyway, yes.  Good lessons, and it's so nice to be back in them!   Still having fun with my sweet TB guy.  :)


  1. I completely agree. Lessons are key for me to stay focused and ride purposely outside of them.

    1. Absolutely. Plus, I get more time with the barn folks when I have lessons. Usually I'm out in the evenings, after work, so Sunday mornings are good for seeing people I don't see during the week.