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I’m sure this will worry a few people, but me and Scottie had our first ever lesson as a partnership today. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to have lessons with him, but where he needed so much work when I first got him and how expensive lessons are on a full time student income, I have managed to get away without them so far. This was greatly helped by all the knowledgeable people around me able to offer advice and corrections either from the ground or while riding.
During this time I have spent a lot of time lunging, long reining and doing ridden exercises to help build up his muscle and get to know him. We have also done a fair bit of pole work and jumping which I personally feel was a real breakthrough for us as it was something he enjoys and we were able to pick up both canter leads either turning into or landing after a jump, where as on flat it was very rare to pick up the right lead, or he would change immediately back to the left.
So why have I decided to have our first ever lesson now?
Well now I’m home for the Summer holidays, there are a few more shows I want to get out to and I know the instructors better. (And they are cheaper but brilliant!) I have also hit a bit of an challenge with Scottie. Where he has built up more muscle on the right rein to be able to canter better on the right leg, the transitions canter has become odd. After riding and seeing it on the lunge, I can only describe it as he is confused as to what legs to go where and I am unsure as to where to start correcting it. Do I focus on the transition or the riding forwards once in canter? Is it him unsure of where his legs are or am I giving mixed signals? For these reasons, I have decided the only way forwards is to have a lesson to help us correct this.
It went a lot better than I was expecting in terms of my riding. I haven’t had a lesson in roughly 2 years, so I was expecting my riding to be sloppy and my position to be wrong. However, the only correction is it make sure I keep my body straight or asking for the bend, even when Scottie is wonky. This was a massive confidence boost on my part.
It has also given me a new thing to focus on as schooling wise I have become a bit lost recently. We slowed everything down and focused on keeping him straight, so that he could start to bring his back end under him properly. And actually, during this process he began to come round and accept a contact.
I was also complemented on the work I have put in on him since having him and hopefully after another back adjustment, we should be well on our way to evening up both reins and building up his hind end.