Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Throwback, Kind Of: Lunge Line Lesson

Yesterday was SO FUN. Just exactly what I needed.

Trainer D came to the barn just to give me a lesson, and I was grateful. With all the questions I've had lately about Lex's management and whether I should be doing anything differently, it was great to get an expert pair of eyes on her.

D is among the legions of Lex fans. (Everyone likes Lex more than they like me, which is totally fine as far as I'm concerned.) So she's like, "What we really need to work on is you, and then Lex will just figure things out." I love that, because a) it's true and b) I'd much rather be the problem than my horse, because I will work endlessly to fix the problems but I don't want to drill the horse and make riding less fun for her.

To that end, we did some trot work just to get her on the outside rein and relaxed. There was some really, really nice trotting in there. I think the slight raise in temps are helping -- Lex just seemed chill to begin with. It was great.

The first couple canter transitions were a little hairy. I would lose my balance and she'd bolt and it was gross. So D decided it was Back to Basics time for us, and put us on the lunge line. I haven't been in a lunge line lesson for YEARS, and it was awesome!

Lex was very confused at first. She did not know if she was supposed to be listening to me or D, and because she's a tryer, she got kinda stressed. But D had me just hold onto the martingale strap and sit back, and no matter what Lex was doing underneath me, I wasn't allowed to do anything except relax and sink into my heels. And you know what? In less than five minutes, I had a very nice trot. D got me to stay out of Lex's way and let her figure things out, and she did. Then we stepped into the left lead canter with the same setup: hands on the martingale strap, some contact with the outside rein but not tons, and thinking about nothing but weight in the heels. Her first couple circles were pretty gallopy, but because I'd managed to get myself totally relaxed and not in some mechanical "good" position, I could just barely use my seat and slow her down. She actually broke into the trot once, which was an honest mistake and the kind I'll take from a hot horse. We did that a few times, and each time it took fewer laps to get where we needed to be.

The right lead was a little harder, but the right lead is always harder. Even when I'm just lunging her, she'll canter great to the left and fall in and gallop to the right. So the "canter" to the right the first time was a gallop, but I held the martingale strap and focused on my heels and my shoulders (always, always heels and shoulders), and eventually, she had a really nice canter to the right, too. Not quite where it should be yet, but jeez, Rome wasn't built in a day. I think we're really close to a breakthrough on the canter. I'm so excited, I love cantering.

After Lex finished off her carrot supply and was snug in her stall, I went to watch Tracy's lesson. That was so much fun! Tracy and Miles are really great together. He reminds me of Calvin, the horse I show jumped last year. Calvin would be all, "I did it right the third time, so why are we doing it a fourth time?" and get a little cranky. But as soon as they started jumping, Miles perked right up! He clearly loves to jump. I'm a Miles fan!

Such a fun day overall. I'm excited because on Saturday, Tracy and I are gonna go to a tack store so she can try on helmets and I'm gonna buy Lex some cookies and MAYBE a new (used) standing martingale and THAT IS IT I SWEAR.

Thanks for your kind commends on my anxiety post the other day. I'm doing much better now. Nothing like lessons to brighten me up!


  1. Sounds great, I'd love a lunge lesson to concentrate on me and keep out of my horses faces - although I am after getting much better on that count since Xmas evidenced by N no longer leaning on my hands and/or steam-train'ing off at speedy trot rather than what I'm asking for - joys of green horse, eh? ;)

  2. I'm so glad you were able to make it to my lesson -- it was a ton of fun! And I'm really looking forward to our tack store adventure tomorrow!