Yep, I celebrated the end of 2016 with a good, tough lesson with Jane. It had been a couple of weeks since I'd had a lesson and my rides have been pretty inconsistent (timing wise, Katai has been really consistent and I've had great rides just not as many of them as I'd like) so I knew we were going to get a workout but mainly we are just at a point where we can both be pushed more which is so exciting!
Since I haven't posted many details about my rides in the past month I just want to post a quick recap of what we've been doing. That is, doing more work on lateral movements, specifically leg yield and shoulder in. My leg yield is starting to get more consistent now that I'm starting to be able to use my outside rein and both legs (so, so, so hard for me!). We've also been doing a LOT more canter than we had been. Jane was pushing way more canter than I was used to and when we talked she basically told me that at second level since there is about as much canter work as trot work I should be trying to do that with my rides as well. SO COOL TO HEAR!! I think I just about squealed like a kid :)
At this lesson we started off getting the trot to a good place. Academically I know that I'm working towards a pushing, active hind leg and that if that's right everything else will fall into place (at least at this point in our training) but I struggle sometimes to really get there. I can instantly feel when it's correct but between correct and when Katai's faking it a bit I struggle to catch the change. I eventually get it when I'm riding by myself but only multiple 20 meter circles later which isn't helpful. It's so helpful to have Jane right there telling me when it's good or not but I'm still a long way from being able to feel it instantly.
Katai was stiff and wasn't moving as well as she had been since she's spent a lot of time standing around. Both because I wasn't able to get to the barn and ride as much as I wanted and because it's icy out so she isn't moving around as much as she normally would in turnout. We ended up spending about 30 minutes getting her moving better and really focusing on my bending. I was also really struggling with my right hand, really really struggling. Jane made me come back to walk and I spent awhile on the struggle bus trying to figure out the feel of what she was looking for.
The problem is that when I'm going to the left everything works, then I go to the right and everything falls apart. I completely blame my right hand but my left isn't much better. I seem to only be able to move my left arm side to side and my right arm straight forward and back. I also struggle to take a good feel on the right rein so Katai is used to the contact being really light on that side. That means that when I'm going to the right I've got my left arm pointing at the wall (when she's trying to fall in which I'm causing haha) and my right is in my lap. I'm not getting her bent properly because I'm not giving her the ability to take the bit forward on the outside and my right arm isn't supporting her on the inside either. Then I fall to the inside hop bone, a lot, and she falls in more to pivot around that "turning point", ie. we're a bit of a disaster and Jane is very patient.
Of course that's not going to be fixed in one lesson so Jane put us back together to the point where we could continue and I've got my homework.
Then we started working on shoulder in!! Jane had told me to practice it when she saw me before my next ride so I knew she was going to bring it up in the lesson. This was actually much smoother than it has been, maybe because Jane had me using both reins a bit more correctly ;), and after we had a couple good tries on either side we took a walk break and then worked on leg yields.
I'm still struggling a bit with the timing of the aids on these but this lesson was the first where I feel like I had a couple of decent tries in each direction. I actually felt like I rode more evenly to both sides and was able to get the timing of the forward and sideways aids a bit better.
Then we went to canter and Katai felt pretty darn good. She's actually starting to develop a little bit of jump to her canter which wasn't there at all before. She's also starting to be capable of holding the canter a little longer which means we get to have more fun with it. We're working on doing 20 meter circles at different points in the arena as well as riding the full sides of the arena but this lesson we also added leg yields in on the 20 meter circles while allowing her to trot when it felt to difficult. At that point we'd leg yield out and ask for the canter again. Katai did really well, I struggled to sit straight up but after a conversation with Jane at the end on the biomechanics I think I get it and know what to do differently next time.
In all the lesson went for about an hour and we took up the full thing with riding and not just "easy" stuff so Katai was fairly sweaty. It was the first time that we made it through the full hour since normally I don't have enough horse to make it that long or we only get there because we do a lot of talking or walking around while Jane explains something to me. I was really proud of both of us and how much progress we've made but even better, it's great to have more new homework!
Sorry for no media! Hopefully next time :)