When I arrived Thursday evening to see Laurie for a lesson she was already in the barn throwning haybales in the storage area. The smell of fresh hay is always a welcome scent!
Divine and the other horses were in the stable since it had been sort of raining in the area, more so in town. Laurie had me tack up Divine in the arena since Gadiel was in and having a mare standing in the aisle in front of him would be just too much for the poor guy to take!
I haven't been riding since before the Quintessential Arabians Get-Together in March. I have yet to go back to Cloverleaf farm for another lesson, honestly I don't want to pay for two sets of lessons, one with Laurie and one with this other gal. I'd like to just stay going out to see Laurie for now. Once I get my own horse I'll have to see what happens since I still won't be able to trailer in for a lesson.
It was great being around Divine and she was a pretty good girl, not too fussy standing tied. I still have issues bridling, she put her head right down for me but the mouth did not open and then I think she got impatient with my hands all tickling her muzzle. Eventually with Laurie there to work with me we got the bridle on. I gotta tell you if I find a horse that isn't difficult to bridle all this practice with patience and time spent working with a mare who is picky about the process with pay off since it will be a breeze!
We worked on turning at the trot and going down the center line straight but also making the nice curved turns on each end. See diagram. Divine is great at turning left but turning right she just falls apart!
So here's what Divine and I should have been able to do. Nice smooth curves (forgive the drawing) with easy turns and a perfect line down the center between the green and purple cones. One time we would turn left the next we would turn right.
Well....here is what we ended up doing! LOL. I didn't turn Divine soon enough going right so we nearly rammed into the wall of the arena. The other turn on the near end of the arena had us going way off course that we had no chance of getting in between the two middle cones!
So then when we were done with that part of the lesson Laurie said "let's work on canter". I'm glad she didn't say that until then, I would have been tense the whole darn lesson! No lungeline to be had so it was just me and Divine. Apparently Laurie has been working with Divine since at the canter she would be on different leads on the front and back and change the back every few strides. Something odd like that but she's been doing more work with her and Divine has been going pretty well.
So we got Divine going nicely at a trot in a circle around Laurie, to the left, Divine's best side. As I kept going round and round in the circle Laurie would say okay she's ready, and then I still wouldn't ask Divine to canter....I was almost about to say, I'm not ready but I didn't. I swallowed those butterflies that were creeping up from my stomach and went for it. When she was nice and collected I moved my outside leg back, nudged and made a kiss sound at the same time to get her up into a canter. We went around the circle halfway, maybe even less. I didn't lose a stirrup and felt pretty good! Yipee!!!
Laurie had me go a couple more times, each time the transition was better and I didn't bop her in the mouth with the bit, I followed her pretty well with my hands and I think with my seat....especially for being so tense. I have to say I was delighted for the short canters we accomplished, Divine didn't spook from a stirrup hitting her elbow, I didn't feel out of control and most importantly, I stayed in the saddle. All in all that's a win in my book! Hahahaha!
I think that was a big step, getting over the fear of cantering on her, seeing that her canter wasn't going to be a terrible thing and wasn't going to be mad crazy out of control either. I was very happy! After the lesson I cleaned Divine up and gave her a couple treats (I forgot to bring the ones we all had made last month!). Pstar was ever cute in her stall, that's pretty much par for course. I said goodbye to everyone and then headed home.
What a great ride! Not perfect by any means but a nice relaxed canter....at least more relaxed than I have done before. I'll get there, this was one hurdle to get over, now it's just a matter of getting even more comfortable with Divine and cantering for longer and really relaxing/moving with her. Hopefully I can get out for another lesson soon!