I suppose I need some prodding to write every day. :) Sprinkler Bandit is my appointed prodder, but apparently some kind of sickness? Busy-ness? is consuming her life. Pfft. Not like I ever have that going on! ;)
Anyway, in all seriousness, Apollo makes a pretty good Valentine. He's sweet, funny, and accepts gifts gracefully. He also doesn't give it up easily these days -- what I get, I work for! Heh. Last night was more focus on connection through that outside rein, lengthening his neck from wither to poll, and transitions. And thanks to ME, we got to work through the horse-distracted bit too. I had a moment of understanding the idea of seeing challenges as opportunities; I realized as I was putting my tack away that I could have responded to Apollo being a bit up by freaking out and just walking or quitting early or whatever. That didn't even occur to me, though. Which is a bit surprising, but there you have it. Instead, I kept working on getting his attention and really working through it, focusing and making sure that I didn't crash into ME and Grayson. ;)
We had good moments, especially toward the end, when I remembered that I need to be quite a bit more assertive with my inside leg when we track right and that I need to keep him on the bending track in a circle without overbending his neck. Straight on the track, whatever that track is.
I also used the methods MT used in the lesson to get Apollo to stretch and lengthen his neck: a tiny little leg yield in the beginning of the ride, keeping the step active and not too much angle; then having a long rein and encouraging him to stretch down and forward; then taking up on that outside rein and making sure that no matter what, it was connected. And connected firmly until he gave to it, through little gives and takes on the inside rein. Working on the push all the way through.
Something I am suddenly aware of that I need to fix: keeping a straight line from elbow to bit. Instead of pressing my hands down and flexing my wrists down (with my thumbs still on top, oddly), I need to remember to flex at the elbow. Elasticity from the elbow, not the shoulder? wrist? some odd combination of joints. I think a bit of duct tape on my wrists will help here, actually: put a strip on the top of my wrist to the bottom thumb joint. That will be even when I have my wrists in the right position, but as soon as I press my little fingers down like I do, it'll pull and remind me to not do that. :) I'll give it a shot.
So a productive ride last night, if not our most beautiful! ME pointed out that Apollo doesn't have the muscle yet to really hold the longer neck/rounded back position for long periods of time, but that he does go there, so we're making progress. :) And of course, the only way to get those muscles is to keep doing this.
Yup, good horse.