If you haven't read part XL, you might want to do so before reading these two (I should have included a few scenes from last episode :-), to begin with).
Wednesday, 28 February
An unremarkable lesson. After all they can't all have the same excitement of last Friday's, right
? I did the lesson with Chèrie again, Francisco didn't put me on probation back on Jubileu after all :-). There was another student with Mefisto, so it was a small and forward going class. This time, as soon as I was up on Chèrie (who, for once, held still for girth checking and mounting) I made sure we were going close to the corners. Even when relaxing, with lose reins, still I guided her to the corners - with the result that she, from the start, did so without any resistance. We went along the path I wanted, when I wanted, with nothing more that a little bit more leg pressure and some half-halts on the outside rein. Before the beginning of the lesson, when I was alone with Chèrie, I did a little bit of transition work between halt, walk and trot as I find it helps to improve my connection with the horse, and his or her awareness of my leg aids.
During the lesson proper Chèrie seemed a bit awkward whenever we were in front of Mefisto, she was, however, more than keen to follow him. We did the usual exercises without incident.
After three lessons on a row with Chèrie she's growing on me. We're a little more in tune, she understands me better and I guess I also know her better. I really fallen for her. Does anyone see a trend here? First it was Juby, the calm big gentle horse. Then it was Mefisto, after that it was the sweet (if somewhat nervous) Astérix. Now it is Chèrie - not to mention as runner-ups Catraia, Lótus and Génio.
The only conclusion I can reach is that I'll fall for any horse I spend more than a few minutes with, I'm not even picky! :-)
Sunday, 4 March
Thanks to a late afternoon work meeting in Friday, I had to move my lesson to the weekend (It's a shame when we are forced to circumvent our priorities - work should never come first when horses are concerned
). I don't much care for these weekend lessons, as they are always more crowded, and less homogenized. This one was no exception, we were a large class with a wide array of abilities. To make maters even better, the damned rain has soaked the large outdoor arena (and part of the other) so we had to crowd inside the covered arena. The lesson was a simple one as it needs be, considering the situation. Francisco gave me Lord and asked me to make a priority of this lesson to get him to work and not just drag his feet in the dust. Actually, if the lesson was not as good as it could be, I can't blame Lord. After the fiasco a week before I made sure I was asking Lord to go close to the corners, even before the lesson started. I had to be more demanding the first couple of tries, but he understood what I wanted and most of the time he did it with nothing more than suggestions. I make a point of "jingling the bell" with the outside rein before the corners - just to remind him of what I want. I did that from the start, when I had to be more assertive, and than that was all that was needed, just a little bit of inside leg pressure and we got to the corners easily.
Now, getting Lord to keep a more lively gait took a lot more effort. All along the lesson I had to keep working with the legs, pushing, pushing, pushing, just to keep him going. Even so, as long as I didn't lessen the leg aids, he went along well enough. It's just that after one hour of this, sometimes vigorous, brushing I was tired - probably more so than he was :-)!
The only other highlights of the day were a little girl, probably around eight or ten years old, that loves Juby (can relate with that, after all he is
) and wanted to ride him in our lesson. Francisco obliged, and so she did. When she went to take him out of the box he stood still the first time she pulled on the reins, but she eased and tugged again and he went after her without any further fuss (huge envy here). The image of those more than five hundred kilos of horse flesh following less than fifty kilos of little girl, was, to say the least, inspiring. She needed a leg up to get to Juby's back, in fact she was almost bodily raised to the saddle - which was actually well above her head. It was fun seeing that little girl on such a big horse, but fun or not she got along with him and they never lagged behind that I noticed (and with so many pairs in a small arena, one is bound to notice). The second highlight was a young boy in Paloma. Now he was not up for the horse he was on. Paloma rode him around the arena for the duration of the lesson, doing pretty much what she pleased, including disrupting all of the class a couple of times, to the exasperation of her young rider. He definitely didn't seem to be falling in love with Paloma :-)!