I’m sitting here trying to think about what my lesson was about, and what to write here about it. What will help you about it.
I didn’t learn anything special. Barbara got on first, and as I expected, he wasn’t great. In between the last time I had a lesson and today, I had ridden on the hill, which was a mess and then there was the cold-ride day, also not our greatest moment. It took Barbara a while before she felt him give her some stretchy contact. I got on and really couldn’t feel a difference in him. I just tried to do what I had been taught in previous lessons – get him off my inside leg; don’t let him lean on that left rein; keep the contact; get him going but once he’s cruising do half-halt steps and send him forward again so he doesn’t petter out. That’s about it. Barbara said I got it, so, we cantered and got the depart almost right away. Good sign.
Half-way through my ride, PJ spooked in the corner. He hates this one spot where there’s a people door – it castes light on the ground and I know he doesn’t like that. I COULD NOT get him into that corner at the trot at all. Barbara is telling me to get him off my inside leg and turn his head in and all sorts of things that I wish I could have done but he wasn’t paying any attention. It’s the Friesian spook thing: stop and look – or in his case, slow down and turn his whole body so he could look. As far as spooks go, if he wants to look that means he’s not bolting away – very safe in my book and one of the reasons I love him. I finally stopped and walked him into the corner. It took encouragement from me but once he realized the light was not going to eat him up, he went right past the spot with no problem. Unfortunately, at shows, this approach isn’t going to work. We’ll just have to take those moments as they come.
Barbara seemed to be in a bad mood before she got on PJ but then she had so much fun that she volunteered to get on the neighbor kid’s pony who was riding with me. Barbara went from my 16.3 hh behemoth to this 14.1 hh little guy. It was funny but she was able to get both beasties to go, and the work she was doing was the same for both – getting them to work over their backs into contact. It was interesting to see how she needed to ride each animal a little differently but not really that differently.
So, I guess the “lessons” of today are:
1. If you know your horse and your abilities, sometimes you need to ignore the instructor. Just sometimes. At first I tried to do what Barbara said to do to fix PJ but I couldn’t do it, so I did what I knew would work from the beginning.
2. Find a job/career that you love. Then it’s never work. Barbara used to ride all of the time and transitioned into mainly giving lessons. It was nice to see her having so much fun riding again. Not that she doesn’t like teaching, but sometimes you do have to mix it up a bit to stay interested.