Today we had the good fortune to take lessons with the blue caterpillar.
We have been trying and trying to get in lessons with Gayle ever since Brett bought Mufasa. But, the rain has conspired against us and we've had to cancel every time. This morning was cold and frosty, the way it has been for the past few days. Lows at 25F and highs at 45F. Brrr.
The weather forecast said 80% of light rain, primarily in the afternoon. Gayle called at 8:00 for a weather check. I told her to wear her heaviest jacket and a hat. I promised to have hot tea for her to sip. She said she would be at our place at 10:00. Brett went first because I wanted to make sure he got a lesson in on Mufasa. I could keep doing what I've been doing if need be, but he really needed direction and input on how to best approach teaching Mufasa about connection and how to be straight.
When Brett and Mufasa started their lesson, we had clouds moving in but the sky was still blue in patches. Brett's lesson was extremely helpful and Gayle loved how Mufasa uses his motor, his attitude and how he takes care of Brett. She helped Brett get in rhythm with Mufasa's big trot and how to keep his heel down so he is more stable and able to move in a balanced way. These pictures are from the beginning of his lesson when they were trying to figure each other out. By the end of the lesson, when I was busy tacking up Winston and couldn't take pictures, they were looking like a team. They were both more balanced and they were flying around the arena loving that big stride trot.
Winston and I were up next. The blue patches had disappeared and the sky was slate grey. Winston was in a vinegar mood, trying to nip me while I was grooming him and tacking him up. He was not nearly as soft and willing as usual but, even so, Gayle was impressed with how well we were going. She said he had a very consistent first level trot. Whoo-hoo!! When he got distracted and fell on his forehand I felt it, half-halted, pushed him into the bridle by pushing him forward, and asking for more bend with my inside leg. We even did some leg yield at trot from the center line -- and did it well. Up to now, we've only done bits of leg yield from the quarter line and he's popped his head up. Today he kept the frame and stepped sideways with big crossing strides. I told him he is a rock star.
The sky continued to get dark and the natives (Flash and Mufasa) started getting restless, searching in the mud for lunch.
About the time Gayle asked us to pick up the canter, I felt raindrops on my cheek.
Our canter needs more work but I've only recently been able to tolerate the rocking motion of canter. My back is healed and so are my toes. It's time to whip our canter into shape.
Mufasa had given up on lunch and was dozing after taking a good roll. The poor guy was pooped out.
The rain started to come down a bit more and Gayle said Quick, let's get some canter in, going the other direction, before it really starts coming down.
A couple 20m circles, and we were getting wet. So the blue caterpillar, my tired horse and I skeedaddled back to the barn where it was dry.
We had to cut my lesson short but not by much and Winston and I learned a lot. We have his first rated show in two weeks and I have our homework until then. Canter, canter, canter. Whee!