Sunday morning, thankfully, was a bit cooler. I limped to the barn, my heels covered in band-aids to cover the blisters that grew, burst and bled as a result of my sweaty feet slipping in my tall boots the day before. I skipped my tall boots on Sunday and wore paddock boots and half chaps. And I was luckier than the others who had ridden their lessons in sitting trot and, as a result, were so chafed from their breeches that Sandy had to ride their horses. My lessons were in rising trot -- I think to help Lucy with rhythm but possibly because my sitting trot sucks. So, I didn't have the chafing issue which was possibly worse than smelling like cat pee the first day.
Lucy was very relaxed, she'd been in the covered arena three times already. It was much cooler at 10am, around 82, when I took my lesson. After our warm-up, we worked on asking for trot from the walk -- sounds easy, right? Not so much. Sandy wanted me to get the timing exactly right so that Lucy could step directly into trot. No mincing half-steps, shifting to medium trot in a stride or two. I was to give the aid and Lucy was expected to launch herself into a foward, expressive, nicely tempo-ed trot. The first time she did it correctly, she left me behind a bit and I choked -- she surged and I went ACK! and slammed on the brakes. oops. Thank goodness she is a sweet and forgiving mare.
Once we were doing those transitions well, Lucy was rewarded with some more stretchy trot. Then we moved on to work on our trot-halt and halt-trot transitions. Lucy rocked the halts -- square and prompt. And then she raised her head and looked around at her fans, watching from the observation deck. She twitched her lip at them -- then she fussed, she backed up, she clearly wasn't thrilled with holding bend in the halt. But we got there too.
Last, we worked on transitions from a forward trot to a collected trot and back again. She felt... different; more powerful but in a controlled way. She was pushing from behind, she was responsive, and the only thing holding us back was me losing rhythm in the corners (tried sitting the slower, collected trot and I changed my rhythm as a result) -- which made her lose rhythm. As long as I stayed in posting trot we were good. If I sat, she thought "canter coming - woo hoo" or "what the ?? is she doing?" -- either way, it was much better when I didn't sit the trot. So, I didn't.
Will we go back in November for the half halt workshop? You bet.