I know it's not New Years quite yet, but I have a resolution for December. After reading through some of my past posts and having a good talk with L today, I am going to focus, focus, focus on ONLY the positive things. Every time I blow a molehill up into Mt. Everest, it gets worked out within a day or two. But the more I keep calling it a mountain, the bigger it looks! So I'm putting on my rose colored glasses for the month of December. I will be Susy Sunshine. I will be PollyAnna. I will be Maria from the Sound of Music (omigod I LOVE that movie by the way.) I may have made lists before, but if you have to make a list it's not positive enough. So from here on out there will be facts and there will be accomplishments and there will be optimism. For those Debbie Downers out there, yes I am going to now enter the world of rainbow pooping unicorns.
So, now that we're past the resolutions bit let me tell you about today's lesson. We were rock stars. We've been having some forward issues and L helped me work through some of that on the lunge. When the Princess would slow down and shake her head at me, I snapped the whip and pushed her forward. Kicking out? Forward! Backing and half rearing? Forward! The answer was always forward. So before I even got on, we had established that the word of the day was Forward.
Once I was on, we went very quickly into working on our trot which over the last week has gotten sticky and slow. I'm not even exaggerating that within ten minutes we were a changed team. L showed me how to put my hands wide and NOT pull, just to keep some connection. So I put my hands wide when her head went up and just tapped with the whip. She tried three or four times to come back to that, but when she found that it wasn't effective, she stopped. Just like that! We spent the rest of the lesson doing transitions from walk to trot to walk. Transition on a circle. Transition on a line. Transition in the middle of a bend. By the end of our lesson we were almost on the bit during our transition and even had some downward leaning into contact.
L and I also talked about expectations, which are the root of my unhappiness lately. She said that every day I come out and spend with my horse is a good day, no matter what we accomplish or don't accomplish. She also pointed out that I have completely lost of sight of where I was a month ago (in case you forgot, I was terrified to ride and only rode about 2 days a week.). These days I am out at the barn 5-6 days a week and I ride every time. These days I'm working on keeping my horses attention and transitions. Did we have to talk about fear today? Not really.
The last thing we talked about was my panicky pony, who continues to tremble when a horse in the aisle way kicks or someone walks by the gate. And by tremble, I mean she wants to get the hell out of there. L said that she really believes that will go away on it's own in time. Part of where L and Trainer #1 disagree is that Trainer #1 was really pushing the pony with strong, driving aids and a fair amount of whip. L thinks that since the Princess doesn't have confidence, that she is now scared of the spooky thing AND scared she'll get punished for it. She thinks this also will just dissolve as the pony learns that's not going to happen. With me, when she spooks we simply go back to work and that is all.
L also said that she was really, really impressed by how mellow my pony was for a five year old. She said that if I had been working with her she would have never let me buy a five year old (ha! As if Trainer #1 would have let me. I bought my pony because I'm old enough to make my own stupid mistakes thank you very much.) but then went on to say that my horse has an amazing temperament. She said she thought she would make an excellent lesson program horse because she takes things in stride. She also said that a year from now I will be amazed at the difference. A year? Hell, it's been a month and I already am.
Happy December everyone! I'm excited for my month of sunshine and flowers even if it is cold, dark and rainy here.