And by “it” I mean that horrible, torturous pessoa rig thing. Liza’s a big fan of the thing, and even explained it way back when. And if you look at them, it seems that it would, indeed, engage the horse’s whole body and maybe aid in straightness. But when I rode Afton last night, after he’d had a few sessions in the thing, it seemed much clearer that it does actually make a difference. First, the photo-essay from the weekend.
Really? You want me to go forward in THIS getup?
DO! NOT! WANT!
Allright... Fine! But I don't have to LIKE it!
To the RIGHT too? Are you crazy?
You still can't make me go INTO the corner! Neener!
He’s such a goof. In any case, watching that lunging session, I didn’t get the impression that he was magically cured. I have a whole slew of pictures where he’s got his head pointed to the outside while leaning in like a motorcyle. And Allie didn’t lunge him that long. But she reported he was much improved on Sunday, and when I hopped on last night, he still seemed better. His natural tendency is still to bulge in and lean, but all of a sudden he’s much more receptive to my attempts to push him over. Which means that riding is a little less frustrating for me. As long as I keep checking my alignment in the mirrors, things went pretty well. So we had a very nice ride last night.
Not only was there correct bending, and less leaning, but we also did almost all of our ride on a very loose rein, with me able to concentrate more on building a good rhythm and forwardness. As a result, he almost stretched out a few times. With Rosey, that part of the equation was pretty easy, but with Afton it’s just not his natural tendency. Either way, he almost got there a few times. After working at it for a while, and doing lots of circles and serpentines, I came back to the walk, and just worked on walking forward (without jigging into a trot) and bending at the same time. And lo and behold, we have a horse who is starting to figure out giving to the bit a little- a couple times, he even stretched down with his head, while bending, and without pulling. I figure it’s only going to take a few more rides for all this to start coming together.
Of course, the dressage trainer I take lessons with sometimes probably would have it all together within ten minutes, but we’re not all that good!
On Sunday, we also tried to take some conformation pictures. I’m sort of struck by how unassuming looking this horse is right now. And how much he’s all legs, hehe…
I'm just a happy little bay horse...