Boo and I had a lunge lesson on Thursday afternoon. We have been planning it for awhile but things came up and lessons had to be canceled. Thursday the stars aligned. No big wind, rain, or hail and not to many people at the barn. If felt pretty good considering my allergies have been giving me hell. To much time cooped up in the house with the heat on is all I have to say about that!
I started off by tacking up while my trainer, Tracey, finished up with another horse. It has been quite some time since I have lunged Boo, and it took me a few minutes to remember which strap went where. Once I thought we were ready I took him into the arena and lunged him for a few minutes without side reins. Shortly after I got started Tracey took over and she attached the side reins. The lunging was to make sure Boo was in the right frame of mind for me to get up there and have my lesson. In order to do this you have to have a reliable horse on the end of the lunge line. Boo is usually that horse, but he has had some bad experiences on the lunge line in the past so we were being extra careful. We only had one little episode on the lunge line before I got on. One of the horses outside decided he felt full-of-himself and the coming springtime and took off at a gallop right outside the big barn door. Boo's head went high and he gave us a little snort and a little passage, but he calmed down rather quickly, so we decided it was time for me to hit the saddle.
I've done this before so I wasn't particularly nervous. I had my "sissy strap" (that's what Tracey called it...I call it a grab strap or a buck strap) attached to the saddle in case I needed it. I cannot tell you how much I wish I had someone there to video for me. It would be so helpful to see myself in this situation. We started out at the walk. Tracey had me stretching out and loosening up all my various body parts. I was suppose to do this with each body part acting independently of the others. I am not sure how well I succeeded (that video would have helped here). The hardest exercise was when she asked me to lift my leg off the saddle from my hip and hold it off for the count of 3 before I put it back down. I was sure I was going to get a cramp in my hip joint but I didn't. I am, however, still sore 2 days later. Very very sore. We worked on my posting at the trot while pretending I had my reins out in front of me in their normal position. I did okay with that. We also worked on 2-point at the walk and trot. I was better at the walk and I was better on the right lead. During all of this I was still using stirrups. We will keep working until I can do these things at the walk, trot, and canter with and without stirrups. It won't be enough for me to do this just in my lesson, so I will be working on the exercises we started with every time I ride.
I've known for quite some time that the problems Boo and I were having under saddle had to do with me. I'm looking forward to improving the way I communicate with him and becoming a more harmonious team.I have no illusions that Boo and I will suddenly start showing in dressage, but I do need to have fun and I do need to set goals. Every year we have gotten better at some aspect of our relationship. This year it's going to be communicating through seat and legs, and Tracey is going to help us get there.