Lesson two with Trainer #2 was...spectacular. We started of lunging for a few minutes. Since the Princess hasn't done much lunging, she took this opportunity to see if she could pull me to the other end of the arena. Then she showed me how skilled she is with her crazy flexible head and neck by doing the Arab head twirl and managing to get the lunge line flipped over her ears. I managed to not get tangled up in the lunge line, to get her attention focused back on me and to not let my heart rate go up too much when the crazy antics began.
Trainer #2 reminded me that, like everything, the pony needs to know what being on the lunge line is about and that with time, she will understand that this is work. The sooner she pays attention and does soft, quiet transitions on the lunge the sooner she is done on the lunge.
The first part of my lesson focused on how to keep her attention focused inside the arena. I realized this is hard for both of us. When something happens outside, I find that I am just as distracted as she is. We did a lot of walking and watching the pony's ears. When her ears pricked at something, I used inside bend to get her attention back on me. It got to where I was losing her attention less and less. Trainer #2 also gave me a great visual about my outside rein that really helped us. Whenever I used the inside rein to get her attention, I let go of the outside rein which meant we spent a lot of time lurching around. She said to hold the outside rein and imagine it's the pencil that I'm using to draw my 20 meter circle. I've never heard this analogy before but the visual absolutely worked for me and our next few circles were brilliant. So brilliant that we moved into trot work.
Our trot work was the same focus. I was also reminded to exhale on a regular basis, which seemed to help with my tension. The most amazing part of my lesson was that about 3/4 of the way through it we started working on moving the Pony's ribcage. When she trots to the right she has a nice bend, but when she trots to the left she holds her body very straight and has a harder time bending. So we spent the last fifteen minutes working on pushing her over and asking for more bend. Which meant I wasn't working on being anxious or the pony spooking. This is huge. And amazing. And amazingly huge. I can't wait until next week's lesson!