Today was interesting. I hauled to Athens for a 2:30 pm lesson with Beth because... well, it was then or never. And it was a heat index of 98. Ugh.... It didn't even feel that hot; it was just heavy out. Heavy and humid and miserable. But we tacked up and I noticed some dark clouds and there was an occasional breeze. So it wasn't tooooo terrible.
We had a great lesson though. We were working on my hand position and thus how I was influencing Danny's positioning.
Tracking Left: Don't bicycle drive my horse. Keep my right elbow back at my side (Cindy's magic bullet tip from a month or so ago.. duh) to keep him straight and from overbending, but also keep it a bit down and out. Lift the inside rib cage into the outside rein and for the love of God, don't cross the neck with the left hand. Also, I sometimes need to lift that inside left hand and sometimes I need to bring it out and back towards my hip. Basically ride with wider hands
Tracking Right: Lift the inside hand. That unkinks the hose at his poll and allows his energy to flow. Also don't forget inside and outside leg as needed.
Then we did a fun ice cream cone exercise where we rode down the long side... with inside bend but not shoulder fore... then did a 10 meter half circle and trotted over two poles on the diagonal, then changed the bend, did an s curve and went over two other poles on the diagonal and did another half ice cream cone and back to the rail (same side). With that... I had to definitely push his shoulders to the outside for the change of bend, otherwise he'd collapse. Also when tracking left I had to really sit on my left seat bone and almost think of collapsing my left obliques and lifting my right shoulder. Going the other way, I was fine.
So halfway between that exercise we saw a bolt of lightning by the cowfields and heard the thunder. Then it started sprinkling but we kept going. Until the second lightning bolt and then we saw the wall of rain coming towards us. I mean.. it was raining already but this was a sheet of rain heading our way. We ran inside just as it started to really pour and I had to run out and roll up my windows. It was coming down!!! Like... almost hailing coming down. So... we sat in the barn aisleway for about 15 minutes and it finally slacked up. We went back out and did the trot pole exercise the other direction for a bit.
Then we worked on walk to canter. The goal was to not throw him away. I tend to throw the reins at him. Nope.. he has to stay connected in the upwards. I used my Cindy advice of prepping during the downswing and asking during the upswing and we got most of them. And when I focused and didn't drop the connection or throw my shoulders at him, it wasn't too shabby at all.
Then we worked on our trot lengthens. Beth suggested that I shorten him first and allow the lengthen. But don't soften the connection too much (or at all). I also had to keep the connection with the reins in the turn, like... lifting my hand or opening it and pushing him to the outside a little, and then as we came to the straight away and I asked for the lengthen.... zoom! But I had to soften slightly.. but keep the connection and keep the softness by keeping a supple connection. But we had some pretty freakin' fancy ones to the right. The left side was a little tougher. But it had to do with me having a bit harder of a time keeping the connection.
So then we finished and I took Dan for a short hack. And it was blue skies!!! And starting to get hot and steamy again. And then as I was leaving the skies got dark and the wind picked up again. Craziness!