Today was the day even though I could hardly believe it myself. Today was my first time having a lesson myself with MY horse in around 1,5 year. During all the months that has passed since then I have been teaching a lot myself and therefore it felt rather weird to suddenly be the student rather than the teacher. I have not had the longing for any lessons for a long time, but now that everything has been tagging along so greatly with Alvaro the past few months, I suddenly felt an urge to get new eyes and perspectives on our work. Not only was it my first lesson in a long time, but today I also had the honour of meeting a new teacher. I have only met her once before at a clinic years ago before I got Alvaro, but I feel convinced that trying out a few different teachers is the best way of finding out what works best for me and Alvaro.
Forward down. Alvaro needs way more softness and lightness on the rein right here and I should open up my shoulders and hips more to the inside.
An attempt on the shoulder-in which actually went pretty good. Compared to previous attempts both today and during other sessions he is stretching much better forward and responding way better to the indirect (outside) rein by brining in his shoulders.
Listeing carefully what the wise woman has to say…
Actually it turned out that I was more excited about this whole setup than I just thought and that meant for me that at 4 AM completely awake and without any chance of falling asleep again. Oh well – I believe that gave me a nice opportunity of emptying Netflix from series. Even though it was more or less annoying I decided to make the best out of it and enjoy the quiet morning in my bed while the sun got up. I mean how often do you get the opportunity of chilling in bed without bad conscience from being supposed to do a lot of other things! I am not sure if I have ever been excited or nervous like that before about a lesson, but yet that seemed to be the case today nevertheless.
Alvaro and I got ready in good time as I felt an urgent need to get some peace and quietness in my mind and body before starting. My little pony seemed to feel the same way and after saddling up we spent a moment together in the stable with my forehead against his, closed eyes and lowered heads. It was like melting together for a short time and tuning in becoming prepared to what was ahead… As it most often does it turned out to be a super chill and calm experience for all parts of the lesson and Alvaro behaved so nicely. We still fight the “tensing up” now and then, but I feel like he is improving every day which makes me relax a little more about the whole thing. I know from teaching myself that it is always nice to have a student who has prepared themselves for their lesson with some thoughts on what they want to accomplish or work on. Obviously I had to try to be a good student myself today as well and therefore I had already decided that today should only concern basic work. Walk, trot, haunches-in and shoulder-in. It turned out that my expectations or thoughts almost turned out to be true despite the fact that we mostly worked in walk which was exactly what was most important today. Ideas and an open mind is the way to go!
Another attempt on the shoulder-in and I seem to be rather satisfied with the outcome on the photo!
Switching the shoulders from inside to a little more outside and going into the travers. He is doing a nice job here as well I would say.
Forward down in the trot which we only looked at for a few rounds. We decided that it was even more important to look at the basics in the walk. I really like his relaxation though and he is searching very nicely forward to the hand as I wish for him to do.
During the lessons we got both corrections and a lot of nice words with us on our way. I was mostly there for the corrections, but one can never be disappointed about receiving compliments! The words of praise that I took in the most was to hear my teacher say… “It is so nice for once to see a spanish horse who is so relaxed and not stressing around as they so easily can be” – YES !!! That made me extremely happy and proud as I know that this is one of the most important things of all in my work and especially with Alvaro. Also I was complimented on my seat which was super nice as well since I am pretty much uneducated on that specific matter. Now to the interesting stuff… What he mostly put weight on today was to make him lighter in the shoulders (something I was already aware of and working on) and thereby make it easier to go into the circles as well as performing a better shoulder-in. Lots and lots of little circles were performed and while I had previously been focusing on moving the outside shoulder (because that was the problem) it turned out that by changing my focus to his inside hind leg he already improved a lot in a few seconds and became much lighter on my indirect rein. Oh well – a little magic is never bad and new approaches are always welcomed with open arms!
Here we go with a little traver again and this time on the other lead. It is easy to see how his outside hind leg is stepping under him here instead of following track of the outside front leg. Also he is stretching fairly nice forward and looks relaxed (yet observant) which is alfa-omega with him.
Going into a 8m circle with the use of my seat, indirect rein and energy to the inside hind leg provided from my inside leg.
My changed focus and thereby aids as well caused a more swinging inside hind leg which not only made our circles easier, but also give him more drive to perform both the shoulders-in and the haunches-in. Also our practicing of the circles made sure that I became more sharp on my seat which were also part of the reason why our shoulder-in’s suddenly turned out better than before. So homework for next time will be to practise further on our circles as well as the engagement of the inside hindleg. For me I need to be even more aware of my seat and especially in the shoulder-in as the many things I need to be aware of easily can make me forget about my seatbones and movement in my hips.