Stinker was tired and didn't want to get photos taken.
The first one was Friday evening. I foolishly thought that having a lesson at five would be a great idea. My plan was to go into work early (which did happen) so I could leave early (did not happen). I was hoping that the rain would push my time back a bit, but they ended up moving lessons to Saturday rather than shift on Friday. I was a bit rushed and still stressed from being at work and Stinker was feeling fresh.
So many tired pony pictures.
It was good because the judge was able to help me work through his sassiness and get him relaxed and stretching more quickly than I have been able to do it on my own. Sadly there was not any video or pictures. The main focus of this lesson was to get him to stretch and release the tension in his neck. Once you get him to start releasing, he is more than happy to release the tension. Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of convincing and accurate riding to get him to start.
In my second lesson we started building on the releases we had on Friday and focused more on the trot. I was so proud of him, because the horses were being turned out (read galloping horses not horses being hand walked) and while Stinker did get tense and lose some focus he was totally rideable. A few months ago this would have resulted in a total meltdown that would have required me to get off and hand walk him or spend 20ish minutes trying to get some relaxation back.
Such a hard life.
The biggest thing from this lesson was the timing of my aids. I have been doing the right things, but my timing isn't the best. Basically, I need to half halt, rotate my inside hand and open it, then as soon as I get some give I need to go back to neutral. And repeat this fifty million times... I was spacing my timing too far out and not give back quick enough.
And he gave up on my attempts to take pictures...
After we got me back in tune, we moved onto some leg yields which were really nice. Then we got to play with some leg yields and shoulder fore in the trot. While they weren't perfect I had a horse that stayed rideable and wasn't frazzled. This is so huge for us and made me so happy. The icing on the cake happened on Sunday. The judge told me that she was so surprised at how much progress Stinker has made. When she saw him in January, she thought it would take a year to get his strength to where it is now.