How can so much happen in one little lesson? First, PJ was not quite right – very similar to that lesson when I quit in the middle, but this time he came out that way. I thought it best this time that we push through it. It was a good learning experience for me because he tried new evasions that I had to learn to work through. I think it was good for him too because it’s his nature to be both lazy and pushy (dominant) if allowed to be. Today’s ride told him he can’t always get his own way and that sometimes things are uncomfortable but you need to do what you’re told. I won’t push him through every day he’s not feeling 100%, but today it felt like the right thing to do and I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with him.
He also spooked big time (for him) going around the short side by A. No clue what he was looking at (usually I can tell) but it happened about a half-dozen times going around. I learned to push him through it: turn his head to the inside and use a lot of inside leg and keep him going forward (the key is to start all of this before he starts his spook).
Then at the end there was instruction on contact. I do not have good contact with him. I know this but I didn’t think it was that bad; actually, Barbara explained that it is really just moving up to the next step – baby time is over. Barbara had me shorten my reins a lot and hold onto the front flaps of my saddle with my index finger and thumb (with the reins). The point was for PJ to find for himself the most comfortable place to be without me getting in the way by pulling back or having unsteady hands. This was a huge learning curve for both of us. He seemed to get it at the standstill. At the walk and then sitting trot, he had a lot of problems finding the most comfortable place for his head. Me, I just kept my hands glued to the saddle, so the only hard part was getting him to go forward – and that was a lot of work, just not complicated. I got the starting feeling of correct contact but getting this feeling correct feels like I have a mountain ahead of me to climb. Hopefully, when I practice tomorrow, I can bring that mountain down to size a little.