Friday for our lesson, I asked Kelley if she’d hop on Cally a bit, since it’s been a while since she’s had a professional tune-up, and Kelley was dressed to ride. I got her a little loosened up while the lesson before me finished, then let Kelley take the reins.
Cally had that look on her face like she knew it was time to go to work For Real. They started off with just a lot of walking, asking her to flex, as we’d done in my earlier lessons. She’s been extremely stiff to the left lately, and it took a long time to get her softened up that way, and they moved on to the trot. Just as we’d worked on in earlier lessons, the same exercise at the trot, asking for a little bit of flexion in each direction until she was able to start asking her to bend correctly. It was slow but steady progress, and it was encouraging that Cally never said “no”, just “this is hard!” She did start to figure out that life was easier when she carried herself and didn’t drop her withers, because no one was going to pick her up.
The canter was hardest of all, and there was a bit of ugliness when Cally realized no one was going to hold her up there, either. But eventually she settled and went around nicely, with a few reasonably decent transitions.
I hopped on for a few minutes at the end of the lesson, just to feel what she should be doing, and what I needed to be asking to get here there. Less hand, more fingers–ring finger, specifically. And surprisingly, not much leg, because there’s plenty of push. It was pretty easy to get her going well to the right, where she’s much more supple, but much more difficult to the left. Part of that is probably my tendency to lock my left elbow as well, and bend it back rather than just closing my hand.
Hopefully for a few weeks when I’m not able to lesson due to work, I can get someone to tack up Cally for me so I can get Kelley to ride her a bit, because it really would do her a world of good. And maybe even have her get on a bit more during my lessons, so I can see the effects of what is being asked of her.