First, apologies for not having pictures or videos from the lesson. I have no excuse. There were a million pony club kids running around and I'm sure I could have given one of them my phone, I just didn't think of it.
Anyway, my barn owner told me last night that her trainer was coming in to give lessons today, and did I want one? YES. OBVIOUSLY.
Even though I have barely ridden my horse in the last month. Even though she was a little bit of a psycho yesterday (no turnout, for reasons I don't understand; dogs running everywhere; a packed ring, including one horse that likes to kick the wall just to be a jerk; etc.). Even though I haven't cleaned my tack and my horse is a mess. Yes, obviously.
I got out to the barn a little early, figuring I could sacrifice my fingers to the cold and wipe my tack off, only to discover that my saddle soap was frozen and taking my gloves off for more than a few minutes made my fingers hurt. So I scrapped that plan, figuring I'd just apologize later. Then I went to grab Lex, and she was gross. I think the tail flaps on her blankets (she's been wearing two, both with tail flaps) kept her from lifting her tail enough when she peed, and she somehow managed to get pee all over her tail and back legs. DISGUSTING. So I froze my fingers off again to try to wipe her off, with limited success. So gross.
Anyway, when we finally got to the ring, the trainer (we shall call her D) wanted me to lunge her first since that's what I usually do. I'll be the first to admit that I hate lunging. I understand its use as a training tool and I'm not arguing with that at all. I just don't like holding a lunge line in my hand. I get dizzy quite easily. I just wanna ride, dammit. So Miss Lex has gotten a little spoiled, because I don't make her work that hard on the lunge line. If she seems to have her brain between her ears, and she pretty much always does, I call it quits pretty soon and hop on. D took over the lunging and really made Lex work for it. She threw a few temper fits but got over them and relaxed. The take-away point was that I need to not let her cause us to wander all over the place, and to keep her going forward when she wants to quit. Fair enough.
When I finally did get on, things went well. Lex doesn't really understand contact, and she's still learning about how to not bulge in or fall out on a circle. We spent the lesson on a 20m circle (most of the time was actually spent lunging, not riding), and talking about the various leg-to-rein aids. She quizzed me a lot, and I was happy to answer all of her questions correctly (what are the five natural aids, what are the two indirect inside rein aids, what are the footfalls of the canter - nothing too taxing). But this miraculous thing happened. Having someone standing on the ground and reminding me of the stuff I really should know and do already (I'm out of shape, gimme a break) was enough to get me... pushing the horse into the contact, leg to hand. And Lex didn't even get pissy about it! I carried my reins much shorter than I have been, and when I got that inside-leg-to-outside-rein thing right, she was there, in a frame. Even to the right, which is her bad side.
It's like magic: ride correctly, things happen the way they should. Who'da thunk it.
So now we have homework to do. We just need the weather to cooperate so we can do it!