Oops!! Just realized that this has been sitting in draft form. Just in time for me to do the next one.
I woke up on Sunday and just didn’t feel like myself. Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed how much changing my sleep schedule affects me and since I got too much sleep on both Friday night and Saturday night think that’s what was going on. I’m also really sensitive to weather change and after a few weeks of consistent mid-60s to low-70s Sunday’s high was in the 80s so that could have been it as well.
At any rate I pulled myself out of bed, got dressed to ride, and picked up a coffee on the way to the barn but I was feeling negative, tired, and just sort of out of it. Once at the barn I started to feel better as usual and was able to actually get Katai in the barn and tacked up for our ride despite feeling like I was still half asleep. At some point last week I thought I had heard L saying that she was going to ride Katai for my next two lessons but true to form, Katai decided to be a sweet heart for the lesson and so I think that L decided not to ride her.
What she started us off with was changing the speed of the trot. She said that she’s noticed that Katai gets into a rhythm and doesn’t want to break it. “Hey lady, I’m trotting here.” she then tunes me out and doesn’t want to go faster or slower. This is, of course, going to be very important as we progress up the levels and it’s another moment where I’m so glad that I have an instructor who has ridden several levels above me since she can be proactive about correcting things now rather than when they become an issue.
She had let me know that she didn’t want to start this too early with my pony since Katai has only recently started to trot at a decent tempo and rhythm and L has been concerned that we’ll blow her mind and she’ll regress. At this point though I think we are both feeling that Katai has truly passed that sewing machine phase and is ready for this concept before she gets too determined that she’s only got one trot speed again. L had me slow her trot until she almost broke into a walk and then push her up slowly to baby lengthenings. She cautioned me that she doesn’t want me working on this on my own since I still can’t really feel it and it would be too easy to teach both of us a bad habit. From working on this in my lesson I can absolutely agree that I’m glad I have an expert on the ground and my main takeaway is that I’m giving up too much rein when I’m pushing her forward which will teach her the opposite of what we want.
Then we started working on doing a canter transition out of that tiny trot. Katai nailed it a few times and then later, when I was just picking her up after a nice long walk break, she spazzed out and did a walk stride, canter stride, walk stride really balanced on her hind end. L laughingly told Katai not to show her how athletic she is or she’s going to have all sorts of fun new things to teach us J
After that long walk break we started working on the same thing in the canter. L wanted me to kick her up to a gallop and then bring her back to a small canter. I did push her but I think my enthusiasm was lacking because she really didn’t get faster at all until L intervened. L wants her to jump forward off my leg cue but I think it would help if I actually gave strong enough cue! I used to be terrified to canter and while I really trust Katai and have gotten over the worst of it I think my canter PTSD came back a little and I was reluctant to gallop feisty pony. That, in a nutshell, is my homework. L wants me to make sure that Katai really responds to my forward cues and even gallop her if needed and I need to make sure I’m confident about it and actually push her to go fast. Out on a beach or a trail I wouldn’t have any trouble but I’ve had a horse fall on me in an arena and I’ve seen a friend have a horse fall on them so that’s scarier for me. Unfortunately we don’t have any safe clear stretches of trail to practice on so the arena it is.
So, for next time hopefully a more forward pony, a braver rider, and maybe even some pictures!