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Back to Work: Lesson Recap 3/21

Just something a little different until I can get more riding footage

After missing two lessons I’ll admit to having a bit of anxiety as I drove to the barn for my lesson this Tuesday. Partially that was just the fact that when I mounted up on Saturday for my first ride back it felt pretty foreign after two weeks off. Part of it was also just not feeling especially confident about how Katai would behave after the time off and the cold front we were dealing with that day.

 At any rate when I got to the barn she was quiet and easy to get groomed and tacked up. I later learned that she’d been a hellion for Jane when Jane led her back to the barn but she really behaved well in the barn and also for my lesson so maybe she got rid of all of the shenanigans on her own. 

Jane’s early assessment was that between the cold and the time off Katai needed a long warmup and lots of work to get her bending. We had a REALLY nice warmup with her and she was on the bit right away and stretching down and forward rather than doing a giraffe impression. After a fairly long walk warmup we went to trot and Jane wanted me to really focus on getting the contact on both reins and really using my outside rein appropriately. I think we both expected some fireworks because contact on both reins can put so much pressure on pony mare brains but she was right with us the whole time. She never once got upset and, while I needed to keep the contact fairly active at first to show her what I wanted, we got to a place pretty quickly where she was consistently on both reins. It was a great feeling!

 After that we did some leg yields but Jane wanted more crossover than we were getting. I think Katai was slightly stiff and after running around like a goofball all day probably just didn’t feel like using herself. We switched to head to the wall leg yields to help with the crossover. I really struggled but then once I got it at the walk Jane had us do it at the trot. That was way too tough for my brain so after a few good moments (that were really total mistakes on my part since I still couldn’t quite figure out what I was doing) we took a walk break and then went to canter.

We worked on spirals at the canter again and Jane really had me focus on getting my body to bend/turn the correct way and not to collapse or lean. Katai did REALLY well with these! I really think the work with the Vienna reins has been paying off and, of course, all of our ridden canter work is paying off as well. Our transitions were all pretty good, I was able to keep my position pretty well, especially to the left, and overall this exercise went way better on Tuesday than it has in the past. It’s still a bit of a struggle for me but practice makes perfect :)

I have some great homework to work on, including more of those leg yields along the wall, but tonight will be another night off and then I'll ride/lunge/do a spa day Thursday-Sunday. I've got a make up lesson on Saturday so I'll have another recap this weekend!

I’ve also got an exciting announcement to share soon!


  1. That sounds like a very productive lesson. When Carmen is stiff on trot leg yields I drop to walk and keep going. It seems to help her. Usually, though, for us it's because she's thinking that there's something to worry about in the direction we're going and is ignoring my aids.

  2. Sounds very productive, even after your time out of the saddle! I can't wait to hear your announcement :)


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