Friday morning I had my final lesson of 2013. The weather cooperated nicely for the occasion, with it being warm enough for us to ride in the little outdoor. And it even warmed up enough to take off my vest after warming up! Cally warmed up very nicely, wonderfully relaxed and quiet despite the somewhat sloppy footing.
After warming up, we built on the serpentine work from last lesson with a jumping exercise. It started off with working in a serpentine over trot poles, working on getting her bending well and staying steady through the turns. We ended up making a few circles to get her bending well and correctly through the turns, especially to the left. Cally likes to pop her right shoulder out on turns, which pulls me that way, so to correct it, I worked on “collapsing” through my left side, which forced Cally to step back to the left to come under me, and get us in balance. Obviously this isn’t something you can do long-term, or else you’re going to end up crooked the other way, but for a few rides to get us both balanced, it’s helpful. Eventually we progressed to a vertical as the center of the serpentine, with us cantering the turns between the fences. It took a little work to get nice correctly balanced turns, as the horse wants to counterbend, and I want to get too far ahead with my shoulders. When I sat up and kept my shoulders back, and stepped into my outside stirrup over the fence/pole, voila, we ended up with a nice turn, a correct lead, and a balanced horse.
It was a very nice note to end our lessons on for the year. I was so happy with how she went, and feel like we’re in a good place to build on over the winter. I’m hoping the weather stays nice enough that we can get in some hacking once (firearms) hunting season is over, and keep up with both jumping and dressage.