Friday, July 29, 2011

Lesson day: Flying lead changes and some homework

I'm a day behind on my posts right now, so this post is about my riding lesson yesterday.  It was my first lesson in a few weeks, since my trainer was at a show last week and on vacation the week before.

Panama and I have been trying to get our flying lead changes in the interim.  We tried to show her a few, but she said he wasn't changing in the back, even though I'm sure that he did change both front and back at least once.  So she brought out a pole and had us do our changes over that for a bit, to get him to change both at the same time.  Sure enough, the pole worked!  He changes fairly nicely over the pole from a right lead to a left, but we had some trouble in the other direction, since going to the right is his worse direction — he wants to cut corners and let his right shoulder fall in, which makes the lead change difficult.  Eventually we got a good change and stopped on that note.

I'll be glad when we can get our changes without the poles, though — the poles are giving Panama a "target," something to anticipate, and he's rushing up to them.  We had a few "discussions" about that during our lesson.  He just gets so excited when he's learning something, particularly when there's something visual involved, such as a pole or a jump.

I've been cantering a lot in my two-point lately, because I've been practicing lead changes, but my trainer noticed that my sitting canter was (as she put it) terrible today.  I blamed it on lack of practice, so guess what my homework is for the next week?  Right... sitting canter!

Which leads me to my next hurdle — my trainer wants me to start cantering bareback.  Problem is, the thought terrifies me.  I only just got comfortable with trotting bareback, and part of that is the bareback pad I'm borrowing.  I'm happy to practice my sitting canter in the saddle, maybe even without stirrups, but I'm not so sure yet that I can stay on Panama's narrow back at a canter, even with the pad.  I do want to get there eventually, but I highly doubt it'll be this week!



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