Last Saturday I had the good fortune to take a lesson on a 3rd level horse with my trainer, JC. Wajur is an Arabian stallion...that's right, a stallion. And he is a gentleman!
Riva was stuck home with lameness issues and I did not want to give up my monthly lesson spot. I know Wajur from my daughter's working student days with JC when she showed him a few years back at Second Level. Wajur's owner won the AA First Level IDS Championships on him last fall as well.
We started the lesson by working on a serpentine exercise with a change of bend at X. JC had me begin at trot with a transition to walk then halt at X. Next I was to change the bend and ask for a few steps of leg yield then transition to trot with a direction change at the wall. Once I had run thru the exercise several times, we then moved up to trotting the entire serpentine. This exercise was super to make me think ahead and expect promptness from Wajur.
Next JC had me move on to trotting down the long side of the arena with a halt by a pole with a turn toward the wall to change direction. The goal was to not move past the pole while completing the turn. This exercise made me concentrate on using my aids correctly to control the haunches and shoulders.
We moved on to trotting the arena, turning up the center line and leg yielding to the wall. JC quickly saw I can reasonably accomplish leg yielding to the left but struggle with the leg yield to the right. So of course, we did many many leg yields to the right. With Riva, I know I tend to get in the habit of leaning the direction I want her to go and not shifting my seat bones. With Wajur, I had to use of seat bones and leg correctly or he would just keep heading straight down the center line.
Before we finished up, JC had me canter a 20 meter circle to the left. Once she talked me thru asking for canter from the hind legs at the transition I felt the most amazing canter on this horse! I could not help but smile and know this is what I am striving for with Riva. After a few canter circles, JC had me change the bend at X and ask for a flying change. I did not get a clean change the first few tries - all my fault, of course! But we had one that felt really nice!
As I walked Wajur out, JC talked about the lesson and that she would like me to take my next lesson on this horse as well. I am already looking forward to it!