So while Winston warmed up by walking on a loose rein, I had to lift my shoulders and lean back. More. More. There. I felt like I was leaning over backwards; like I was going to be laying across Winston's butt if I went another inch. But, I wasn't. I looked like this. The camera doesn't lie.
Gayle told me that if I keep my shoulders up and back and stay centered over my body, Winston will be able to balance easier and carry me. Otherwise, I'll have to work too hard to keep him together. Of course, getting there is going to take some work. My body likes slouching. Sigh.
Next we worked on corners; starting with 15m circles and working down to 10m voltes. Winston needed to stay active, reaching under with his hind inside leg, and bending around my leg.
I had to press with my inside leg so he didn't fall into the middle of the circle; I had to sit tall; and I had to not pull him around with my reins.
When he was moving with energy, we did pretty well. When he slowed down, I had to work harder and steering was difficult. I felt like I was pushing a 50 lb bale of hay sideways with my calf. Making faces helps.
We got it done but it wasn't easy. Keeping Winston forward and active is key. I get that. I really get that now. Gayle worked us for close to an hour. Walk and then the same thing at trot. We finished with some leg yield. After getting a good 10m circle in the corner, I would straighten onto the center line and then push him sideways to the rail. He wasn't quick enough or reaching under far enough for Gayle (this is not a new exercise for us). I had to tap him with the whip to get good effort. I said a Hail, Mary first. He fussed but he didn't buck. Phew.
Gayle told Brett not to worry about Mufasa's frame at this point. They worked on getting an even tempo, especially in the corners, and getting Mufasa used to light contact on his mouth. Mufasa steadily improved as the lesson progressed.
There were also moments where he got discomboobalated. Brett stayed steady and consistent on his back which wasn't always easy. There were times when Mufasa got a bit strung out.
Mufasa has a lovely, forward trot. The balance will come. This horse tries hard. After working on trot, they moved onto canter. Unfortunately, canter hurt Brett's back so they didn't do it for long. Their lesson wasn't long, but they accomplished a lot.