Great ride on Sunday. I got out to the barn around noon. It was sunny but windy when I left home. East wind. COLD wind. At the barn I was far enough from the gorge that there was no east wind, so it was warmer. I was amazed to see that I was the only one there! I had thought for sure the place would be crawling with people taking advantage of the good weather.
It didn't bother me at all to be the only one there. While most times I love the camaraderie at the barn it is also nice to have the quiet to concentrate on what Boo and I need to work on. Boo was perfectly willing to come to me in the pasture (he knows I always have treats). There hadn't been any rain in a few days so mud was at a minimum. Boo's lightweight rain sheet was enough to keep him relatively clean. I am so glad I got one with a neck cover because it helps to keep his mane clean too.
It didn't take long to clean him up and tack him up. I have to admit I wasn't wasting any time either, as I was sure I wouldn't be alone for long. We started out with our requisite 10 minute walk, quickly put him in front of my leg, and started suppling shortly thereafter. I'm not going to tell you he went right into it, but I did discover that riding the suppling like I had baby birds in my hands (from Sally Swift's "Centered Riding") worked better for me than what I had been doing. Before, I would squeeze the inside rein 3 times and then close my hand on the outside rein and then relax to see if he gave to the bit. If he didn't I did it again. The longer I had to do it the stronger my hands got. Not on Sunday. I just concentrated on asking but keeping my hands soft. He gave to me sooner than he had been and for more strides. "Okay," I thought, "there's one hurdle accomplished."
One of the things Bernadine told me at my last clinic was to sit back on my pockets more. In schooling sessions since then the DH has told me the same thing. He watched my clinic and he is trying to help me. Sometimes I like that and sometimes I don't. Sunday, without him there, I consciously tried to remember to sit back on my pockets more. I found that if I teetered forward at all Boo would try to slow down and even come to a stop. His head would also come up of course. If I stayed back on my pockets no problem!
Finally, I was reading blogs earlier in the week and Annette over at http://www.newsfromaspenmeadows.blogspot.com/ had discussed how she had trouble keeping her thighs rolled in. She knew this because when her thighs weren't rolled in her boot zipper would slide down due to the back of her calves rubbing on her horse. I got to thinking that I don't even consider whether or not my thighs are rolled in. I guess I figured if they were I'd just be using them to hold on during the canter. Instead, when I tried it I found my contact was better, my legs stayed quieter, and my foot was forward instead of turned out. So, now I have another thing to think about ;)
I have a lesson with Trainer Tracey tomorrow. I know I'll have a LOT more to consider by tomorrow night!