I wasn't sure how today's lesson would go and I was a bit embarrassed that I hadn't ridden Winston since my last lesson. I needn't have worried. Winston was calm as a cucumber. Katy immediately commented on our loose rein, relaxed warm up.
Katy worked on my position. I know that I turn my toes out like airplane wings. Katy had me think about turning my heel out instead of my toes in -- and for some reason that thought works better for me.
She noted that I tend to carry my hands low, almost resting on my thighs and well below Winston's wither. She explained to me that at that angle, the bit hits the roof of Winston's mouth when I take up the contact. I knew it was wrong, but I had no idea I was making Winston uncomfortable. Talk about motivation to do it right.
We worked on transitions from walk to trot. Winston has always had trouble keeping a nice frame and I attributed it to appy-tude. Not so. I was holding the contact in the transition, with my hands low, and he was anticipating pain. I feel horrible. When I kept my hands hip high, straight out from my elbows, and gave in the transition, Winston quickly learned that it wasn't going to hurt and relaxed. This was definitely my biggest take-away from the lesson.
We also did more "ride from your seat" work -- bending by using my inside leg, pushing my inside seat bone and shoulder back, and not restricting with the reins. I loved how Winston moved freely, reaching and stretching.
Brett and Mufasa were up next. They spent some time talking about Brett's riding history, what kind of riding he likes to do, and what his goals are.
Katy loved Mufasa. She loved how he was licking his lips throughout the lesson and trying his heart out.
Brett got the focused position treatment too. Brett's leg started too far forward but by the end of the lesson, he was lined up in a nice straight line.
Mufasa rushes at the trot so Katy taught Brett how to regulate Mufasa's speed with just his seat.
And how to halt by sitting deep.
She also told Brett about a trainer, close by, who worked with Ray Hunt and Tom Dornance. She starts horses, trains them for trail and trains them for cattle work. Brett is thinking about riding in one of her clinics. I think both Brett and Mufasa would love, and excel, with that work. They sure seem to be happy with each other; a great match.