Oh I love this horse!! We had a great lesson today! We got to ride with Jamie and Atlas so we got to be cool and ride with the big kids. ;)
It was grid day, so we started off over the tidy collected bounce pole, vertical, bounce pole "grid" to start. From the very beginning Dan was better. Well... let me rephrase. I rode better so Dan was better. :) We got a pretty nice bouncy canter and for the most part, he stayed in front of my leg. So then we headed to the grid. It was a bounce of little verticals to a one stride big oxer then another one stride to another set of bounce little verticals. Beth said the goal was to keep that tidy collected canter through the bounces, then jump the big fence in a slightly more open stride, and then land and let the bounce teach the horses how to collect back up. It should have been pretty tough but both Atlas and Dan rocked through it from the very beginning. :) I mean, it was still fairly tough and we both had to ride hard, but it wasn't as disastrous as I was expecting!
Going through the Grid
Danny kept himself fairly collected and other than a time or two that we got a funky distance to the first fence (but we fixed it before we finished the line!!!) where he either got a little behind my leg or he asked if she should move up or rock back and I just ignored the question so he had to flounder a little.... he was great! He kind of clocked right through them! It was a blast! Beth kept raising it and that middle oxer got kind of wide and scary looking with the rails up in an X form. But it rode great.
A little behind the leg over the first bounce, but we fixed it
So what we did work on, since Dan was being so super, was my release today. Beth had me ride with my hands a bit farther up on the reins and that way I could half halt with just a little bit rather than having to make too much movement with my hands and arms. And... while I was afraid at first that it was going to put me too tipped forward and in front of the saddle... It helped my position. I think anyways. It felt like I almost had to push my shoulders away from hands so it helped. Beth said I needed to release more down, not just forward. Like hugging Dan! So we worked on that. It's a lot easier to work on it in a grid rather than over each fence individually. I also worked on my leg position and keeping my feet in front of me a hair. And then Dan was drifting a little bit to the right in the beginning, but by the end, he stopped. Whether I got better about closing my right leg and opening the left rein or he just got straighter because his canter was more correct and he wasn't trying to find more room... I don't know. But he was straight. :)
So yep... a really fun lesson! Hot though.. holy moly it was hot! And Dan even got his front feet iced because Jamie had the ice in the boots all ready to go and Beth needed her so.. instead of having it melt before Atlas could get in the boots, she let me use it for Dan. So he got spoiled. He was a good boy too and we managed to even keep the boots upright the entire time and not spill them when he came out of them. :) Yay!
After we got back, the boys got turned out and Mike and I went to the lake for some fun!