Last Sunday, Leo and I had one of our best lessons to date!
The Friday before he got vaccinated so instead of a lesson Saturday, my trainer invited me out to "trail ride" him around the property and overall just spoil him instead of lessoning. There's an awesome track that goes around the front corner of the barn property as well as a bunch of extra land in the back past the far riding rings. I was a little unsure of how Leo would do on his little trail ride as he can get grumpy about going where and when he wants to go, but once he figured out he wasn't going to have to work and we were exploring he was So Happy! Like ears fully perked, walking the most forward I've ever felt him walk and we just explored everything. Passed a bunch of scary stuff, he didn't bat an eye. At one point we walked through the hedge ring and I was just letting him choose his own path, and he chose to take the exit with a blown over barrel/garbage can right in the middle of the entrance. He braved his worst nightmare with a little snorting and flinching but otherwise seemed determined to take care of me and not have a meltdown. So many pats were given! He got a good graze afterwards and I headed home.
Last Sunday, I arrived and he seemed very engaged and in a pretty good mood. We mounted in the indoor and quickly exited out the back since another horse was having a meltdown inside. Normally, we lesson in the smaller hunter ring but another rider was having a lesson there so I decided to not interrupt and started warming up in the jumper ring. My trainer came out and asked if I was feeling ambitious enough to have my lesson there. I actually was, and we KILLED it. Leo was brave. I was braver than normal. First time around our course I was got a little flustered with turning too tightly and leaning in which mussed up my lead changes a bit, but the second time around I have to be honest, it was kind of perfect. I for once had the steady, forward pace all the way around. I didn't miss a single distance and Leo just loved it. We ended on that note.
It's always hard to match those 'amazing days' especially because I tend to get a little tense when I know I'm being watched or my husband is out video-ing, but here's my lesson from the following Sunday ON BILLY. I showed up, husband in tow for some video but Leo had thrown a shoe so Billy and I got to take on the jumper ring for our lesson and he was so good! It's always nice to go back after some improvement.
My nitpicks about the video: my left piano hand, my right hand practicing fencing with the dressage whip, sitting up half a second too soon over the jump, hunching over and pumping when trying to get enough canter, not following properly with my hands, looking down for my lead change (and Billy has auto changes! what am I doing!?), not pulling when I see the Forward Distance, and a little too much wiggling in the lines. But other than those faults, lol, I'm pleased with my improvements! Onward & upward!