|No photos from the lesson, but here is my horse sticking her tongue out at me :P.|
The one piece of feedback Trainer gave me was that I am relying too much on my leg at this point at the trot. She encouraged me to stretch my leg down long and to only use it occasionally to help the bend. The reason being, if you use leg all of the time, your horse becomes dull to it. She's completely right and that is something that I've been noticing about myself, so I'll just double my efforts to correct that. I think it is a result of trying to be less reliant on my hands to get a bend, but I went too far the other way!
After trotting, we did some basic canter work of just going around on the rail. Again, Casey was being a star, so Trainer didn't give any corrections. Trainer commented that my leg is great at the canter, super stable and strong, and that I should try to get that leg at the trot. This piece of feedback actually meant a lot to me, because for the longest time my leg at the canter was my Achilles' heel. My inside leg used to slip a lot and I definitely wasn't secure, so it feels to hear that Trainer thinks this is now one of my strengths. Also, it was helpful because I know how my leg feels at the canter, so once she told me to aim for that it was really easy to correct my leg at the trot.
|My leg a year ago|
|My leg now|
|Jump layout in the lesson|
Trainer asked me if I wanted to keep going or end on that and again I opted to end a bit early. The lesson was only 45 minutes instead of a full hour, but at this point with Casey, if she is being good, trying hard, and keeping her head on straight while jumping, I'd rather jump less. I'm completely terrified of her getting injured again and so don't want to push her too hard all at once. Plus, she was so good the entire ride that she really did deserve to end early. I'm all for ending rides on good notes, even if that means that they run a bit shorter.
After the lesson, Trainer and I recapped together. Her main observation was that Casey is being incredibly responsive. She would come back to a trot within a stride or two after a jump (if it was a line that I wanted her to trot-out), which Trainer pointed out means that Casey is listening to my body language before and during the jump to anticipate what I wanted after the jump. We both couldn't stop gushing over how good Casey is being. Really, it's like she is a completely different horse. I know that I keep saying this, but she amazes me every day. If somebody had told me a year ago that Casey would be calm, responsive, and a joy to ride I'd have laughed in their face. There's a reason I got her for a dollar, people. It's because she can be a total impossible-to-work-with diva that just also happens to be a hot Thoroughbred.
|Hot Thoroughbred warning|
|The face of a horse trying so hard to be good (aka, not murder my Chiweenie)|