The weather has been terrible here all week so my instructor organised for us to use an indoor arena near her. The RDA - Riding for Disabled Association - has a great indoor arena and we were able to use it for $20 an hour. With the rain and wind I was a little worried about how Sam would cope in a new environment with all the noise but of course he proved himself to be a gem!
I packed the car and loaded Sam. He only had one bawk at loading and then we were up and in. Impressive as we were loading in the rain and wind - very cold. My OH drove us there and he dealt with the awful conditions very well. Sam unloaded well. I lead him down to the arena, he had a good look around on the way but was happy to keep going without walking on top of me. We saddled up and had a walk around the indoor to check everything out. He snorted at a few things but on the whole wasn't too concerned.
The lesson was good. Jane (my instructor) had a ride and gave him a tune up for me. She really pushed him and put him under pressure. He coped ok. He did push the limit a little but he was trying to figure out exactly what was being asked and once he figured out the 'comfort' area he was happy to work in that area. His head carriage is not still as he really doesn't have the strength to carry himself properly yet but we will get there. After Jane had ridden I jumped on board and I love it when you can really feel the difference the moment you sit in the saddle.
At the walk I felt that I just pushed forward with my seat and instantly we had a powerful forward walk. WOW. Jane wanted me straight up into a trot as he was still figuring everything out and being that we are always trying to get Sam to go forward we didn't want to stop that forward thinking. I still found it difficult to achieve what Jane does but we did a few different exercises and I felt glimpses of what she feels and achieves so I have something to work towards.
Near the end of the lesson Jane ran through a dressage test with me. The rain really started to pelt down, a truck turned up and unloaded 3 horses, we had to work at the end of the arena that had things stored there. All these things distracted Sam and I really struggled with getting his focus back. There were parts where I had to canter and we hadn't done any work on the canter yet so I found this especially difficult. What I did find though was there were areas where we really had some nice work. I had to trot across the diagonal and it was really nice bar about 5m. Another was we had to let the rein out and let the horse stretch down on a 20m circle and then take up a contact again - that was really nice.
So while we had some terrible work we also had some really lovely work. The best thing was that my OH came along and videoed some of it. I can see that my position has improved. I sit up a lot straighter but Jane is always telling me to turn my toes in at my knee. I finally saw today what she was talking about. WOW I never realised how badly I turn my toes out so I can really work on that too. Also - SHORTEN MY REINS!!!!!
I would like to go back to the indoor at least once a week if I can manage it. Once we are able to down load the video I will post some of it for you to see.
When I say Sam is back it was the oaten hay I am sure of it. He hasn't been worked since Monday and he was like he used to be after no work. So I am glad I figured out what I problem was. I think this will also help my confidence with him after no work.