Perhaps setting myself up (quite literally) for a fall by posting this update under such a heading, but what the hey...Best live a little!
I rode Kika on my lonesome last night, or rather there was another horse in the arena at the same time as us, but no Guru to guide me! Said horse can be a bundle of energy and a sporadic nutjob under saddle, but a giant sweetie otherwise, he just gets himself excited and has to explode. So I was a little apprehensive of sharing the arena with him but Kika was not in a messing mood so all went well!
Lunged her for 10mins till she was giving me the smooth, striding trot we've been working on and cantering from said slow trot without doing her racing pacer impression - happy days i got both pretty much straight off the bat!
Up i hopped in the dressage saddle, keeping L's intructions about contact and heels in mind as i set about my work. I had already decided that I wasn't going to canter Kika on my own as I am terrible at recognising whether she is on the right lead or not. I used to be better able to tell but now her canter is pretty awful (when i ride) anyway so that when her head is up and she's choppy it's harder for me to know whether she's right or wrong
So I settled on working mostly in trot, doing lots of rein changes on the diagonal, circles and our famous serpentines which were a little awkward due to ther horse in the arena but we did get one or two nice ones with very little resistance from K, which is an improvement! No head tossing and front leg throwing as we reached the turn, and no jaw cocking refusing to bend round the corner - well not 100% but does happen more often now then before!
I also got some very nice sitting trot work (if i do say so myself!), the one time the other horse had one of his wobblies i was doing sitting trot without my stirrups and i am delighted to report that Kika did not so much as even look at the other horse acting the muppet, she kept concentrated, balanced and CALM! She was so good and we were concentrated on each other that it took a few minutes of farting and hoof pounding from the other fella for it to register in my mind also!
Therein probably lies the key, i hear you sigh when I focus solely on her - she focuses solely on me ... ipso facto - sustained concentration by both parties!
She was so good not only in ignoring the la-la moment of the other horse, but in her cool calm consistent contact (all the c's together) - again I'm beginning to realise this was another one of my issues not hers! My contact with the bit was too lax and my reins were often drooping (thank you Guru for setting me straight) and i honnestly could feel the difference that simple change made during our lesson on Sat and then (attempting to) implent it myself.
My heels still need a lot of work - but hopefully as i get used to the saddle and stop gripping with my knees they'll sneak down of their own accord (saddle pushes them in that direction anyway - now to get my legs to cooperate and stop resisting, )
Hopefully this isn't too boring a read, but I am so happy you'd swear we'd accomplished something major!
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