Tough Lesson

More for PJ than for me.  Barbara had us go go go.  She said that PJ has been very lazy but that’s he’s a big boy now and can do it – he’s strong enough and mentally ready.  I don’t think he knew what hit him.   There was a lot of forward trotting and then a lot of galloping down the long side.

Usually our canter departs start with me half-halting enough to almost do half steps and then as I’m sending him forward again, asking for the canter.  Instead, Barbara had me just balance him and while he was still going forward, asking.  He picked up the canter but threw his head.  We need to fix it but first things first – cantering when I ask.  The head throwing is because he anticipates that I’m going to bang him in the mouth by not throwing my hands forward.  I’ve had/still have a tendency to do that because I throw my hands forward but then when he doesn’t pick up the canter right away, put them back (even though I don’t know I’m doing that).

To be honest, I didn’t think I could get PJ to go any more than I have, but today’s lesson proved me wrong.  The secret was giving little kicks with my calves in double time with his trot.  Every time I sat it was bang bang.  And then to keep the contact with his mouth, I opened and closed my fingers in time with his trot.  What I’m finding is that constant effort doesn’t work (no just holding the outside rein).  Whatever I do has to be pulsing (opening and closing my fist).

My brain and body were fried by the end.  I hope I can remember (and my muscle memory remembers) everything I learned today when I have to ride by myself.  But I’m giving both PJ and me a day off tomorrow!

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