Barbara got on PJ again before I rode. She said he was much improved since the last time. Of course, the last time was only Tuesday with a WoSW thrown in the middle. But, I still think it’s a good thing that he retained what she taught him in the short time she was on his back. It also means that he could regress just as fast into the bad habits that I taught him.
What I’m hoping is that as he gets it, I can feel it better and maintain what she teaches him. When I got on him after she finished with him, she talked me through keeping the contact and half-halting and sending him forward. To me he felt much slower than when I used to ride him (remember – we were always going for forward, forward, forward!). She said he is, but he’s pushing better. Before we were looking for him to just go. Now, we want him to just use his hind end. She said that as he gets stronger, he’ll go more forward. Also, I used to expect a big response from half-halting and sending forward. Now, I should be looking for a definite but not as big a change. The problem for me is feeling the difference between the right reaction and the sort-of-right reaction. But it seems like at this point, either is more desirable than no reaction.
During the ride, while I did posting trot, I tried to recapture that feeling of my hips that I got at sitting trot yesterday. Every so often I pretended to put my knuckles on his withers without really doing it because I didn’t want to disrupt the contact with the bit. Just visualizing that feeling of pushing myself into the saddle helped. When it’s right, it feels like my hips are separate from the rest of me. Pretty cool.
There are just so many things I still need to make a conscience effort to concentrate on. I know that the more I work at them (correctly) the less I’ll have to think about them because they’ll become automatic responses. I probably should have had Barbara get on him earlier but it seemed like everything was progressing, albeit slowly. However, she’s ridden hundreds of horses and has developed amazing feel, which is the most important thing. I have not. It just took a while to admit that I needed more help than just lessons.