Our new barnlord and I got to talking and she wanted to know more about the lessons I had taken with G in the summer. Since she doesn't have a trailer I made an inquiry to see if Mike would come by her farm for back to back lessons, but he told me he doesn't travel. It's unfortunate since we're on his way to the highway to go home, but it wasn't meant to be. I went through my mental list of trainers and remembered watching Katie Hill of Field Day LLC working with a few students at a barn where we both boarded. I always liked her style, and we used to have some great conversations on horsemanship in passing. I found her on LinkedIn and after a few conversations set up lessons for me and Linda.
Katie didn't disappoint. She was still the same relaxed, down to earth, patient to the max person I'd remembered. She started our lesson by walking along side us as G warmed up and relaxed asking what it was I wanted to accomplish with G. My answer was simple. For now, I just want him to be happy with contact on a snaffle and use his abs and topline correctly.
Without the structure of lessons or workouts, most all of our riding has been on the trail. And, I have to admit that in G's new relaxed state, I haven't had to be so aware of what my body was doing, and bad habits crept back in.
We worked through October last year and we picked back up again this summer. Doing long and low work. Asking for connection and leaving him be until it was broken. Being patient and allowing him to make mistakes, and be quiet in my corrections.
We've been doing a lot of tedious but rewarding work. Riding on the lunge line without stirrups or reins, relying on my seat to spiral in and out. Doing exercises in the saddle to find balance, and mainly doing more with less aid. We did make lots of progress between fall and summer and Katie said it was evident. This past lesson we worked on turn on the haunches and turn on the forehand around a square. It really helps me work on my inside/outside rein and pay closer attention to my seat. G never seems to disappoint. The softer I am, the softer he becomes. It has taken me way too long to fully realized exactly how much I was standing in his way of being a soft horse.
What I love about this simple work is that I can practice it all out on the trail in a western saddle as well. Unfortunately, summer is almost over, and before we know it daylight will disappear at the end of the day and we will have to suspend lessons until next year. The one downfall of not being at a barn with an indoor arena. But it too teaches patience :)
My happy boy.