So Linda lunges the pony in side reins. After a few moments of discussion about running versus walking, Tessa settles in. And oh my, I had forgotten what a lovely mover my pony is. She has a beautiful, floaty trot! Linda has me come over to feel the connection on the lunge line. Then she hands the line to me and I try to keep the connection, relax my hands and keep the pony forward. I succeed, mostly.
Then it's time to get on. I opt to get on without the lunge line, but Linda is still close by the lunge whip. Tessa ambles off into a sluggish, crabby walk and lurches into her slow trot, snapping her tail at me and twisting her head angrily. I try to relax my arms of steel and grab a hunk of mane as Linda snaps the whip. Tessa goes forward. This was pretty much my whole lesson. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn't. We were not able to duplicate the gorgeous, floaty trot and mostly she was trotting slower than she should have. However, she didn't buck every time. She didn't flip her head every time. In fact, a few of our canter transitions were almost pretty!
I think Laura is going to ride Tess tomorrow (though we never confirmed this. Note to self: email Laura!) to really get the point across that when you have a rider you must, must, must go forward. I hope she rides at a time where I can watch! I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the next few rides. Though I feel GREAT about what I did today, I also don't feel like I could replicate it without having someone on the ground with a lunge whip. I ride five days a week alone and then one day in a lesson so I need to move past this phase as quick as I can.
The other thing that Linda has me doing is pretending I hate my pony. Most of my problems stem from disobedience. It starts in the cross ties and just keeps going to under saddle. So when I got off, the first thing Tess tried to do is rub her head on me. Rather than pushing her off and feeling like a failure and going down THAT rabbit hole, I cracked her smartly with the handle of the whip and then backed her up by tapping her on the chest. Pony looked at me like 'Who is THIS???'. Two minutes later, she remembered it was me and tried rubbing again. I nailed her again and backed her up. Then I gave her a pet on the forehead. She stayed still. That's right, Princess. Momma's got some boundaries now and they will be enforced. MWahahahaha. She was amazing after that and didn't pin her ears or swish her tail at me even once.
I don't have any pictures of my actual lesson, but I remembered a camera today so here's a couple random shots.
This is the Pessoa Military Saddle I've been riding in. Notice the crazy blocks in front of and in back of your leg. Weird saddle but it kept me on the pony when she tried her hand at rodeo-ing.
Pony wants a treeeeeaaaaaaat.
This is Farthing who I rode for a few minutes on Tuesday. See how huge he is? Okay, I probably should have put something next to him for perspective. The Pony (who is 15 hands) looks like a midget next to him. I'm pretty sure (in my 'omigodthishorseishuge' imagination) that the fence behind him is six feet tall. He's THAT big. Warmblood riders, quit snickering at me. I got off a petite 15hand Arab and he felt like riding a house.
Giant head! He's SUCH a Warmblood. Came over to visit but wasn't concerned or overly interested. His take was "I'll let you pet me if you feel like it, but no pressure."