With the extreme heat, M has been re-scheduling as many lessons as possible for the cooler morning hours. She knows that I work and can't really come much earlier, but she called because she couldn't remember whether or not I had a lesson scheduled for Monday.
I arrived at the barn, sweating as soon as I stepped from my car. I was the only lesson that evening, as the group that usually rides at 4:30 rescheduled for Wednesday. She had Jimmy in the aisle, and we got him tacked up and ready to go.
We worked on simple patterns and transitions. D complains that we don't use our legs enough to guide the horses, so she thought it would be a good idea to re-enforce how important it is. I am still confused about how to effectively use leg aids, so I thought the lesson would be pretty interesting. I tend to not use much leg on Jimmy, because once I do, he either trots faster or canters off. This was one of the issues that I encountered last night, too. When I asked how to keep him from speeding off, M used the drag racing analogy again. You can rev his motor, but he can't go any where until you release the brake. While this didn't exactly help, it did get me thinking.
During the pattern, I rushed too much and got poor Jimmy all frazzled. He gets as frustrated with me as I get with him. I had him cantering on the wrong lead, trotting instead of leg yielding, and walking in circles instead of turning on the haunches. It all gets so confusing and becomes a muddled mess of rein and leg cues.
At the end of the lesson, M had me canter on the rail, first on the correct lead, and then on the wrong lead, in both directions, to demonstrate the difference. When I look down at the horse's shoulder, I still can't see a difference in how their legs move, but I could feel a definite difference.
After the lesson, I walked Jimmy down the driveway, but the flies were brutal, so it wasn't very enjoyable. We didn't even make it halfway down the drive. The flies were making Jimmy miserable, so we headed back to the barn.
Jimmy was given a quick shower, and M tried to wash the sweat off of him so the bugs wouldn't eat him. She also removed a bean the size of a rock from a tender part of his anatomy. Never having seen one before, I was slightly appalled when she showed it to me. No wonder he doesn't like to walk! He's probably trying to jiggle it loose and thinks a faster pace will jar it free! This is why I didn't want a gelding. For more information than you'll ever want to know, click here.