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Harry Approves

Today I got to a wet and windy yard. I unrugged and tacked up Mr Harry who was extremely reluctant to come out of his warm cosy stable. I can’t say I blamed him but give a sharp tug on his reins and a firm “walk on” when he backed up a step. He came and I mounted and walked into the school.

This morning was the use of my brand new pink schooling whip. Purposefully, I set off with it in the left hand as that would be my inside hand.

It takes, as I discovered, a few laps of the school to wake Harry up and once I had him going, my RI commented on how good the walk was. He was tracking up well, which for you none horsey people means his hind hoof will fall into or in front of the hoof print of the fore hoof. It felt slow to me but my RI said that was a good walk for Harry, it’s how his walk should be.

Then to trot and I was feeling messy and all over the place. My RI let me find my way but after commented that she can always tell when I’m riding with a not so positive attitude, it reflects so much in my riding. Once I ditched the negative attitude, it all starts coming together.

And soon, I was trotting happily and doing trot to halt transitions and felt my flick becoming more effective.

Just over halfway through the lesson, I got a lightbulb moment where I could feel the contact. I’m not sure if I’m correct in saying this, but until you feel good contact, you can’t really describe how it feels. But boy did I feel it today. It was elastic! Who knew leather reins attached to a metal bar could feel elastic in my hands. And Harry agreed and at the encouragement of my RI, went into canter. It was a lovely forward canter. I just need to remember to ride the canter walk transitions now.

Once I had the elasticity of the contact, things felt so much better. No longer do I believe you need to have your hands up on your horse’s neck to have a good solid contact, my hands were nearer to my body and it felt great.

A messy change of rein where I totally got the wrong end of the whip moving but changed it by standing still, [really need to work on that], and off we went in the other direction.

More trotting, and my RI kept shouting, “another canter” And we did a few good ones, a slightly messy one but mostly they were good. Even managed a canter from M–C corner right to A-F corner. Almost a whole lap. I was impressed!

Considering a month ago, I didn’t ever see me cantering for a long time in the school, cannot believe what I’ve achieved so far. My ambitions were only to do a dressage test in walk and trot. My belief didn’t stretch to ever canter in the school. Taking it up to a faster pace, I truly felt uncertainty but it was Harry the last time I rode him that proved to me there was nothing to worry about. I can imagine a few canters will appear in many more lessons with that pretty fun pony.

Some long rein and plenty of pats for Mr Harry. My RI wasn’t wrong when she said he’d be my cantering horse. I’ve cantered more today in the school than ever before and my rI was pleased with the majority of my canters. She said if she was to be picky, she’d like longer legs and more weight in the heels but considering only my second time cantering in the school, not bad feedback.

I’m really enjoying this pony and only ever thought we’d have this fun out on hacks. How wrong was I?

Excited for my lesson again next week and promise i won’t take any negative uncertainty into the school with me. Harry knows what I’m thinking.