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The Next Step: Lesson Recap 6/20

No new riding pictures so here are some adorable puppy pictures
This was the weirdest I've felt during and after a lesson in a long time. I went into it feeling sort of emotional and vulnerable. Still not sure what's up with me lately but I think it's a combination of things from my previous post. At any rate, it probably wasn't a good time to bring up show plans for the rest of the year but I need to at some point so I asked Jane.

To make a short story shorter, we're sticking with Training level for the rest of the year. She's completely right and I don't quite know why I've been pushing for 1st. I'm totally in this for fun and I want to build a strong foundation with Katai which means making sure she's comfortable at shows and I'm comfortable riding her at shows before we increase the difficulty. I've mentioned before how goals turn me into a lunatic and this is one example since after we discussed this I felt completely defeated and just completely lost all motivation.

Luckily the beginning of the lesson was just about getting Katai moving forward, stepping under behind, and getting her rhythmic. For the past month or so our warmup has been to start with serpentines and get her bending but now we're in a different place (already) so using the full arena and getting her cruising is the answer. We also worked on changing the rein length at the walk and getting her to stretch down and then come back up without a pony melt down. Happily the answer on this is to just do it many times since she just doesn't know that sometimes the correct answer is a medium walk.
Doggy trifecta, tennis ball, rawhide, and sun spot
We got such nice work that I started to realize what a ninny I was being and was feeling better by our first real walk break. At that point Jane brought up that we were going to work on walk/canter/walk transitions!

Talk about an emotional roller coaster...

I had been planning a post on how I've been practicing these with Katai occasionally on the lunge. It felt very "exercising the Black Stallion at midnight" since at that point we hadn't even talked about walk/canter transitions. I just hoped that by introducing them there she'd understand them when we went to do them under saddle. On Sunday this past week she had NAILED them and gave me one, textbook perfect, transition on each side.

I mentioned this to Jane but neither of us were confident about what we'd get. I was betting on these transitions making Katai hot and explosive and tense and I think that Jane felt like we'd get that or just lots of running trot. However, Katai surprised both of us and stayed extremely rideable, mostly waited until I gave her the cue to transition, didn't run into the trot before the transition, and I was able to keep her fairly soft in the poll in the downward transitions.
Yeah, he's not spoiled at all...
Of course they weren't perfect. There were some trot steps, some tightness, some rushing in the walk, and going to the left she really struggled to step down into walk without some running in the trot first but they were really, really, really good for her first tries. Most importantly to me she stayed with me and didn't get explosive but she also did some really decent walk/trot/walks in each direction.

We ended on that but for some reason I still just felt sort of dull. I KNOW what a big deal that was but I was just struggling to be happy about it in the moment. Katai got lots of pets, a peppermint, and Jane and I talked more about the show schedule. She's going to look at the calendar and figure out when she can drive me. It sounds like there's a show at the middle of August that she's bringing her young horse to.

It will be interesting since her young horse hasn't shown before or even been off property much and this will be Katai's fourth show so two noisy baby mares. I'll be bringing earplugs and taking lots of Advil I'm sure haha. I'm hoping I can do at least one more show after that. The show in August is rated so my options will be Training 1 and 2 again. Hopefully that will be good enough that we could consider doing Training 3 at a schooling show later this year.

This is from last year (Veggie is two from the left)
but we've been doing more dog parks this year
Again, I'm really not unhappy with where we're at. I'm actually so, so, so happy and having so much fun. I love my time at the barn, I've been so motivated to go, and this past week I've been to the barn 5 days in a row and rode 4 of those days which would have been unheard of not that long ago. It's just this other stuff that's coloring my time at the barn and I think because I don't feel like I can make progress there I'm pushing that much harder at riding.

I'm working on perspective and finding other things that I can obsess and make goals about such as getting the Vegetable to the dog park every weekend :) Also, I want to mention that even though my last couple of posts have been a bit whiny and negative that's not really how my last couple of weeks have gone. It's just been a small part of how I'm feeling recently  and happened, in this case, to come up during my lesson.


  1. LoL - I definitely have had my share of "Black Stallion at Midnight" longe sessions :) Sending hugs that things outside the barn will settle soon!

  2. What happens outside the ring can creep into the ring as well. I also think that at some points training/learning gets to points where it's a like chipping through a brick wall with a small hammer. That's when things can feel a bit 'meh'. I hope that things change soon.


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