I didn't blog about my past few lessons on Cinder, mainly because there wasn't much to tell. She was good, but it's still the baby basics. Walk, trot, canter, keep her balanced, half halt, more bend, don't let her get rushy....not exactly exciting stuff. But this week's lesson, while still baby basics, was fantastic.
Both of my ponies got their teeth done last week by Trainer A's dentist, a friend of hers from college who flies out here twice a year to do horses. And I'm pretty sure she has magic hands because Cinder felt like a completely different horse after getting her teeth done. Peebs felt better as well, but not as dramatically different as Cinder.
I had gotten on a few minutes before my lesson and started our walk warm up while I waited for A. I immediately felt the difference. As soon as I closed my leg and picked up the contact, Cinder was right in my hand and with me. She still wants to giraffe around and gets distracted every 15 seconds, but comes back much easier and felt like an actual trained horse. She's obviously still a baby, but it's like we crossed the bridge from baby horse who I could get round for a step or two to trained horse who goes round for the majority of the ride.
We did a little warm up trot and canter then went back to the trot and worked on a more hunter trot. Cinder wants to stretch down, and go in a more huntery way and for the first time I was really able to get her there, and keep it. I was also able to start floating the reins for a few strides and have her keep that frame. She still wants to pop out of it quickly, but I can feel that hack winning trot developing.
We went back and did some more canter work, and while I can't quite get her as round and connected in the canter yet, we did manage a few strides each direction that felt great. I'm starting to figure out her tells, and when I need more leg vs more hand and when/how to half halt.
At this point in the lesson one of A's junior riders was getting on for her lesson and Cinder was absolutely convinced she needed to go say hi, and kept trying to stare at them and break gait. I'm finally comfortable enough to pony kick her and tap her with the whip and know she's not going to bolt or freak out about it. And I consider that another big win. A did say that Cinder's one "bad habit" is getting very distracted about other horses in the ring with her. Last week she had a tantrum about not getting to say hi to another horse, but A said after a CTJ she was much better. When I bring her home I'm going to have to conscript friend A and my trainer to ride either Peebs or Scottie when I ride Cinder so we can keep working on this issue.