I learned a lot in my lesson about contact. As I was starting my trot work, Barbara said I was moving my hands forward on the down in my post. Of course, I didn’t feel it. To me I thought I had even contact with him mouth. She suggested I look down at my hands. When I did that I saw what she meant and corrected it. It felt strange – a little like I was pulling back at the down post, but she said it was correct and PJ went much better, so I guess I just have to get used to that feeling.
As I’ve mentioned, I have issues with the canter depart. Well, we figured out what they are: PJ isn’t truly in the contact and listening to my seat. Barbara had me half-halt for three strides so that PJ was almost trotting in place (not passage but a much bigger difference from working trot) then send him forward. When it felt like I had to use my hands instead of just my seat, it meant that PJ was not working off my seat and he wouldn’t canter off. When my half-halts worked without my reins, he cantered right away. I just have to solidify that feeling in my head and what I have to do to get it – how much leg, should I lean back more, how heavy to post, etc.
And the big news…we moved the horses into the new barn today! After our lesson, Maryann and I rode right up to the new barn and untacked them there. It was obvious that Ransom had grown up in a barn and indoor because he almost seemed to relax more being inside. PJ on the other hand, had never lived in a barn. His old stall was open to the outside, being one of those modular barns, and where I had gotten him from was a similar set up. He was a little bug-eyed. I think once he spends the night there and eats, he’ll get used to it. Now I just have to figure out how to organize all of my stuff!