Friday was my lesson night on the School Master - I will call her 'V'. I arrived a few minutes early and hurried down to Riva's stall to check her leg. On Thursday evening - I had all my tack out and ready to go, hurrying a bit to try and get outside for a quick ride in the fading daylight - only to discover Riva had a small wound on her right front fetlock. Quite a lot of dried blood was around it - dang...but thankfully no swelling or heat. I cleaned it up and coated it with antibiodic ointment and put her back up for the night. She was not lame on it, but I didn't want to take any chances.
So I popped in to her stall to check on the wound - looked fine. No swelling, heat, she wasn't sensitive about having it touched. I threw her some extra hay - she made quite a lot of noise last time I had my lesson...I assume voicing her displeasure at me giving attention to another mare!
My trainer asked me to put a bareback pad on V and bridle and bring her out when I was ready. Should have been my first clue that I was in for a workout. After scrambling up on V - who is tall and broad - I found her very comfortable to sit on bareback. We started with some holding one leg at a time out to the side at the walk - with my bent knee raised on the opposite leg. This helped me feel my seat bones move with V's motion. We worked on getting my position correct and then moved up to trot. My trainer said my balance was really good and a did not have trouble staying with V.
Next my trainer had me remove the bareback pad and saddle V. She had me contentrate on keeping the position in the saddle that I had bareback. We again started with walk and raising my legs and getting the feel thru the saddle. We moved up to trot and she had me work on posting smaller but more forward motion in my pelvis. She then had me work in 2-point - this I have never done nor attempted to do. This took some work before I could hold my balance (meaning keeping my butt out of the saddle). My trainer wanted me to concentrate on relaxing my ankles and sinking my heels - kind of bouncing down in my heels.
After working on 2-point for some time, we moved up to canter work on a 15-20 meter circle. My canter cues are getting more effective - I worked first in walk to canter then trot to canter. Working on canter in a circle was a first for me also - keep in mind I am a beginner! My trainer said my position in canter is much improved from my first lesson and I am getting more relaxed all over. On the last canter circle, everything started to click and V went into a nice working canter - it felt so amazing.
By the end of the over an hour lesson - I was tired and a bit sore already. But the progression of bareback pad, to 2-point, to canter circles made sense to me in review. I felt my position improve and my connection to V was stronger. I love that my trainer walks around at the end of the lesson, while I cool out V, and goes over everything we worked on and answers any questions that come up.
My trainer is to ride Riva for the second time this evening. I am looking forward to hearing how it went!