It was -15 when I arrived at the barn for my riding lesson this morning. Yikes! Cheryl's barn is pretty warm though, and there was no wind, so....
First I lunged Cheryl on Savanah, and then she lunged me on Savanah. We kept it pretty light and easy because Savanah has a coat like a wooly mammoth and I wouldn't want her to get sweaty in that cold (more on that later). Cheryl hasn't been riding in a while, so she's getting on Savanah to do exercises and get back into riding condition (she's strong because she does lots of work in the barn). We laugh though, because Cheryl is only 5' tall and Savanah is sooo wide that Cheryl's legs are almost doing the splits to get around her.
My longing exercises are without stirrups and to:
- lean forward and hold and lean back and hold, while keeping my legs correct
- put my arms to the front and then one at a time move the arm to the side and follow with my eyes, while keeping the other arm still
- swing each leg, with an unbent knee, forward and backward, swinging the hip joint
- then both without and with stirrups I practice canter trot canter transitions, because my position is poor on Rogo (heels don't stay down as I encourage him to go forward)
I love riding Savanah, because I can ride her much more correctly than I can Rogo. It seems I am always concentrating on too many other things when I'm on him, and my position suffers. I know this isn't a good excuse - the better my position is the more I should be able to work on improving him, but ... I'm trying hard and slowly getting better with him. Cheryl told me my canter on Savanah today was the best she's seen me do, but when I'm on Rogo he doesn't respond as quickly and easily as she does, so my legs and back are working more to keep him going / steering. Oh well. At least by getting on Savanah I can work on my position.
Rogo was doing a better trot again today. Keep your fingers crossed for me. The free longing over poles and jumps seems to be helping his trot and also the running with him is helping me. I worked on contact today mostly. It wasn't very good to start. He's wanting to stick his head up again, but he improves as the ride progresses. The nice part is that I'm getting a good working trot almost as soon as I ask, which for weeks / months had taken 20 to 30 minutes to get with any consistency.
Cheryl watched his canter and said it was fine - I'd been wondering why he was using his hind quarters more but then seemed to be 'falling' forward and trotting - but he didn't do it today. She said he was probably just losing his balance as he is learning to carry more on his hind quarters.All in all a good lesson and it was up to -2 by the time I went home, tired and cold but feeling great.