Lesson 10.11

Wednesday was a bearable 79 degrees, and it wasn't disgustingly humid.  The lesson riders were Laurie on Gio, Audie on Summer, Maggie on Zeb, Amber on Harley, and me on Jimmy.

The lesson was pretty uneventful, though Jimmy and I battled over where he should keep his head.  M said that even though he's more comfortable with a hunter headset, he could hold his head higher.  I needed to sponge the reins and ask with my leg.  I did get him to pick his head up for a few strides, but then he promptly dropped it again.  That's when M pointed out that after he lifted his head, I had to release and reward, and make that place a "happy" place for him. 

This utopia never happened, and he was soon extremely fussy.  Now, I'm sure that my repeated requests to do something he clearly did not feel like was irritating the crap out of him, but that was no excuse for him to start hopping around like a bird.  I lost a stirrup, but thanks to Laurie's harsh lessons, I was able to retain my seat and regain the missing foot rest.  During the breathless moment without the stirrup, I thought I was going to get dumped, so I grabbed mane, balanced on the reins, and most likely gave Jimmy a sore mouth. 

I am so confused about maintaining the "happy" place.  If I add my leg, he starts to canter or speed up.  If I loosen my fingers, he pulls through his bridle.  Instead, we play tug of war, and I always end up losing.  I just don't understand how to get their heads set!

We also worked again on lead changes.  We were instructed to canter on the left lead halfway across the arena, stop, and pick up the right lead.  Jimmy and I went first, and we got everything right the first time!  He didn't stop very nicely, but he stepped right off into the canter.

We filled out the entries for the show this weekend, but only for Saturday.  M said we'll figure Sunday out at the show. 

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