I just had my fourth lesson with SW and I thought I’d do a quick recap of things so far. My first lesson I hauled Cruise in, he was good but a bit looky/nervous, and we concentrated mostly on my biomechanics. My list included pushing back against an imaginary hand(to sit more upright), shortening my back armpits, and pretending I had beanbags that I needed to lift on my toes and knees(to add more tone to my thighs). Steering needed to be more like a bus and posting trot needed to be to the top of the rise with pelvis neutral.
I continued to work on all this stuff with Cruise and also came back to SW to ride a school master a couple of times to solidify things. We also added in not rocking side to side at the walk, keeping my carousel pole vertical through transitions, a bit more refinement on steering, and playing with what true bend feels like. I found it really helpful to have a couple of check in lessons while also riding Cruise and practicing on Jet at home. Lots of opportunities to play with my biomechanics and get feedback from different horses and also input from SW.
For my fourth lesson I hauled Cruise in again yesterday and he was a star. Quietly walked around the ring, same with lunging, we did a little groundwork with input on refinement from SW and then I hopped on. His relaxation was excellent so we worked on rhythm at the walk. Making my reins a touch longer and popping my hip flexors to lift his back worked really well. Then we did some halts and worked a progression of stopping from my seat and if that didn’t work passive resistance and then if that didn’t work a slight lifting of the hands but not backwards. Cruise figured this out really quickly and we got some beautiful halts. Then we went back to rhythm at the walk with him lifted in his back and on to trot. I have to tell you having rhythm at the walk led to the loveliest trot transitions for the most part. Who knew? Anyway, we worked on getting rhythm at the trot and sitting a few steps here and there when his back was up. We also did a few trotting to almost walk to trot on to get a half halt at the trot. It worked like a dream! We ended on that great note.
The plan is that I will haul Cruise in every 2-3 weeks until the weather gets awful. I chatted a bit with SW about showing rated and my ultimate goal of getting my bronze and she was very positive. She offered to ride a horse sometimes during my lessons to get Cruise used to working with other horses around which would be super helpful. She also might host a ride a test sometime this year, which again, would be super helpful. From just wanting some off the farm mileage before actually heading to shows, I feel like I have fallen into a great learning experience. SW is a USDF Bronze medalist but more importantly, she is an experienced horsewoman in the middle of the Mary Wanless teacher training. Her communication skills are superb, she has yet to give me a biomechanics or young horse correction that didn’t work, and there is a ton of back and forth communication. I think I got really lucky here folks and I am excited for the next few months of growth!