I had a great lesson with Laurie on Saturday. She found it neat to be coming out to me instead of me to her. The lesson is more expensive because of the additional travel cost but I feel it's worth it to work directly with my mare and the little issues I have to work on her with. I finished getting Dani ready, I have a bit blanket to heat the bit up and I love it! Dani is very good about taking the bit and I'm working on trying to be less fumbly since she's so good I don't want to aggravate her. I like my new Tekna bridle but I do want new reins since the ones I have are not my favorite, they are a flat cotton rein with little leather stops every so many inches. They are fine but I like the idea of those rubber grippy ones or simple laced reins.
I told Laurie about my issues with the mounting block and also the saddle sliding over if mounted from the ground. Laurie watched me move her towards the mounting block. Then she decided that she would mount from the ground a few times and while on Dani she did some bending of her neck. Then she dismounted and began showing me to move her hind quarters and shoulder over to the block. It was tiny step by tiny step then lots of standing and petting on her shoulder and butt while standing on the block. Dani was calm so I mounted from the block, I still grab the saddle too much, need to learn to grab her neck with mane near the whithers, perhaps putting my arm over the other side of the saddle too. I have to note that I need longer stirrup leathers, there is no excess to put in the keeper and it all just seems messy. It'd rather have more excess than not enough. So I have some ordered, plus a grab strap for mental security!
Anyways, I have to say I was feeling very shaky in the saddle at first. We did some circle work and practiced one rein halts. For one rein halts you sit deep in the saddle, sort of tucking the butt under and pull with the inside rein. Dani was quite responsive. It can be a very soothing thing especially if there is a panic situation, the more I practice it the more natural it will become and will be there when I really need it! Dani is pretty good off the seat.
Next we did some yielding of the hind quarters, it's hard to feel the difference when her legs cross over and not just move over but Laurie helped me and I think I eventually felt it. You press and release with right leg and ask the head to come over, then do the same on left side. As soon as she does what I ask I release all pressure. It will take time for both of us but helps with softness and is the first step towards teaching leg yielding. I have to make sure to sit back during this exercise, I kept leaning forward which gives confusing signals to my girl.
Dani had a little attitude at first but then when she realized that we were doing a certain thing and she started to get it, the attitude went away. She realized what she needed to do and that there would be release. I have to get good about quick release of pressure when she gives the slightest try. It's hard when I have a hard time telling if she does exactly what I'm asking from the saddle.
Another horse was in ring kicking up hind legs, and all fussy with his rider. At times it was hard to ignore but again it's getting used to a busier stable for me and Dani both. It's good to expose Dani to this so she also realizes to just ignore other goings on in the arena.
We then started on a little collection, I asked with alternating pressure on the reins and after even a very slight lowering of her head she received the release. Little bit by little bit. By the end of the lesson I felt much calmer and a little more connected to Dani. It was great to have the lesson on her, I'll have to look at my budget and see if I can purchase a set of them and try at get at least two in a month. We'll have to see since I had some car issues and other unexpected expenses. I dismounted Dani when we came to a good point and led her out of the arena. I'll have to work on these exercises over the next couple of weeks, getting her used to the mounting block and moving the hindquarters. It was a lot of fun!