I had a super intense lesson last night. I have this problem when I'm focusing so hard on riding I lose my sense of direction. I'm pretty sure my trainer wants to throw tomatoes at me when this happens, but I sometimes forget which way is which.
"Ok now left bed. Left bend. LEFT. LEFT LEFT LEFT" And it is at this point that I realize that I'm clearly doing something wrong and I'm using my right leg and still trying to bend right more.Whoops. Here is my quick lesson recap;
We warmed up with a nice stretchy trot and CJ had to remind me to A) not let her fall in with her shoulder, B) I control the tempo, and C) Evita is not a canoe and I need to bend.
I managed to get myself under control pretty well and she didn't have to spend a lot of time getting me to actually ride. From here we criss-crossed my stirrups over the pommel and began some real trot work. The past few lessons we have worked on serpentines to keep her body supple. The main issues we have are I brace too much with my leg and bounce at the sitting trot instead of absorbing the movement through my core and letting my legs relax. Also, around the turns we tend to get to canoe form again and Evita will dive in with her shoulders. I had to work on maintaining bend and wrapping her barrel around my inside leg and holding her shoulder up through the turn. We actually managed to perform this really well after a few tries! Occasionally I'd go across the diagonal and shoot for a medium trot.
Up until this point Evita remained pretty soft on the bit. CJ reminded me that as soon as we loose bend and malleability in her body, she takes the bit and runs on the forehand with it. And then we steer into the fence to stop. And it isn't fun.
We moved on to the most difficult canter work I've ever done. The canter work really stresses E out and when she is susceptible to becoming a freight train. We focused on walk canter transitions and spaghetti circles. I've done plenty of spaghetti circles at the walk but the canter was tricky. Basically the idea is just doing random changes of bend. However this was through a change of gait. We would canter on a left bend circle then transition back to a walk for a stride or two, change bend and immediate canter transition. I totally got reamed the first time because I didn't listen to CJ when she asked me to canter. Instead I didn't feel like I was ready so I waited a few strides. And what do you know, it completely fell apart. From then on I listened to her right away and every transition was on the aids and beautiful.
We actually were able to do twenty meter circles and laps around the arena on a super soft and light rein. It felt amazing! I can't lie that Evita was extremely intimidating to want to move forward at first because I was worried about the freight train and my arms getting ripped out of my sockets. But yesterday's ride was super nice and confidence building. I love this mare!