Winston was in a pissy mood. He turned away from me when I got him out of his stall, he tried to turn and come out of the trailer, and he scooted all over the place when I tried to get him to stand at the mounting block. Since he was dying to go, Gayle had me pick up the trot right away. Afterward my lesson, I scribbled some notes to help me remember everything.
1. Keep my toes pointing in. No more of this toes pointing out to the side business. I need to roll my thigh on, even if that means grabbing it in my hand and putting it where it needs to be. The difference is immediate in how secure and effective I feel. Toward the end of the lesson, when we were working on canter, I started to get a cramp in my outside calf. Then I realized my toe was pointing out so I was pushing Winston over/steering with the back of my calf instead of the inside. As soon as I corrected, the cramp went away and Winston steered like a dream. Courtney King Dye said this was a struggle for her (women's anatomy is not helpful at all) and if she had to work at, then I can too.
2. At canter, keep my right elbow poking into my hip and my toes pointing forward. When my right side is my outside, I am a dorky mess. If I point my toes forward, my elbow swings out. I have to control BOTH of them. Thankfully, my weak side is the opposite of Winston's.
3. When I ask for more, he has to give it immediately. It doesn't have to be huge, but it has to be enough that I feel a definite difference.
4. I need to kiss the seat of my saddle with my seat when I post. I'm landing too heavy.
5. Keep the outside rein firm at all times. I can soften when he carries himself but I can never, ever, give it away. He needs to accept the contact and work through his body into that contact, back to front. I especially need to keep the contact firm and steady in my upward transitions. Don't worry about the inside rein or bend at this point; working in the contact comes first.
It was a long, hard lesson. Good, of course, but hard. While Brett and Flash had their lesson, I sat in a chair and Winston grazed next to me. He took a couple big mouthfuls of grass and dumped them on my head. I imagine there is a mesage there.
Back home, the clouds had come back and it was cold and windy. We turned the horses out in the pasture. Jackson was bucking up a storm in his stall turnout so I let him out too. His turnout is mucky wet so it couldn't be any worse to have him out on the firm wet dirt instead of sinking in mud. He is determined, as Lori noted, and he wanted to be out.
|Flash and Winston discuss who gets that particular bin of hay. Winston lost.|
|Jackson joined the group and I put Winston's blanket back on. He walked right up to me and stuck his head through.|
|Remember when Bella cut her back leg? She lost a lot of weight then. She has gained it all back -- and then some.|
|Bella thinks she is Vanna White, showing off the aloe flower to me. Kyle says we should call her Bellatrix.|
|First artichoke of the season!|
|One of the families living in the eaves outside the great room windows.|