It started off with a 2 hour private with Kime. After the two hours, Jen, Tammy and Drew would be showing up for a short group lesson. I was looking forward to the private time, because I want to get my freestyle great so I can move on to finesse riding. I’m enjoying the freestyle riding and Z and I have come a long, long way in the last few months.
We started a little warm up and then I began to show Kime what I had in mind for my freestyle audition. I had my course all set up and she liked what she was seeing. I have all 7 games covered and pulled some creative tasks off the self-assessment sheet. However, as I suspected, I didn’t get very far into what I wanted to show her before we were stopping to fix things up. My circle focus needs help. I’ve got to practice that. My circle is no good and thus Z doesn’t ride a circle for me. We talked about the bend in my body, the position of my legs and torse, sitting slightly on the outside of the saddle. I should pushing my outside hip up and NOT bringing my shoulder down. It’s tough to do correctly and I just need more practice.
We worked on our backup w/o reins. Z isn’t paying enough attention and that’s because I’m not being particular enough. I must continue to up our game and ask for more lightness. It never ends, it’s got to get better and better. So, I have to remember, ask with phase 1 then quick 2-3-4. And 4 has to be effective. And 4 should be more than 3! Silly that she had to correct me on that. Then, she asked me to walk a diagonal line by correcting the horse only on the outside. I didn’t really understand what she was asking for so the first couple times were a bust. But once I figured it out, I realized we couldn’t do it. We didn’t have a bridleless disengaging hind. So, it was a good discovery and we stopped to fix that up. I’ve got to remember those phases, too. Eyes, belly button, leg, stick. I have to bring my hand in to my belly button as if my rein was there. It causes my body to simulate what I’d do with reins and Z knows what to do.
We got that going and then it was time to work on our jump. She had us start with a ground pole. She was testing my focus and our ability to go over an obstacle together. Z tried to avoid even the ground pole, so of course she’s going to avoid a jump. Duh! We fixed that up and then she had us circle some obstacles with the ground pole on the circle. It was more circle practice and I realized then that my focus is horrendous. I just struggled. She explained that I should think about every little detail of that circle and really make it right. Do less sooner and keep Z as focused on our task as I am. Once our circles improved, Kime had us do a course she thought of that included corner game, circle game and squeeze over the jump and then the barrels. It was a good course and I will do something similar in my practices. Another important thing is to reinforce the jump differently than I’ve been doing. Allow her to avoid it, but circle around and go back to it. Repeatedly. Until she goes over it. Then, when she goes over it, reward the heck out of her with a huge release and even a treat. She’ll quickly figure out we’ll move on quicker if she doesn’t avoid the jump.
We quit at that point. I want to go longer, but the others were waiting to start their group lesson.
For the group lesson, I let Z off the hook and grabbed Gemini. Our ground work needs more development and Kime was expecting a lot from us. She had us doing separate things from the group, which is fine. She had us start with 7 games and observed us. She told Gem and I to go work on the figure 8 pattern. I was not walking back and forth in a straight and I honestly don’t think I even knew that. It did make a huge difference, though. And Gem was doing much better, so she sent us off to play the squeeze game. She also had us demo disengaging hindquarters. Oh, how I hate to be chosen to demo. However, we did a decent demo and I was pleased with us. For the squeeze game, we moved to barrels and I tried to squeeze him over, but Gem was putting very little energy into things. We’ll keep developing and I can’t wait to take him to Pagosa!! I know we’ll grow tremendously when I only have him to focus on.
At that point in the group lesson, it started to rain. And thunder and lightening. And we tucked horses into trailers or the barn and we sat and talked in the barn. We talked for a while, but I was seriously disappointed. I was looking forward to riding Gemini. I really wanted to ride him finally. We’ve been on ground since I took him back over from Krissy. It’s seems like a good enough time to start riding again.
Oh well. It was a great day anyway. Too short, but great. Jen and I sat with Kime over wine and hot chocolate for a bit before all heading off for evenings. I had Kendall’s b-day dinner at Dave amd Busters to go to with the family. I had to fix my attitude and get on with my night. :-)