Onto the pony news. I had a lesson last Wednesday with Carolyn and it was quite good. Since all last week was literally a monsoon here, we rode in the indoor. Charlie was a little wired when I brought him in and made things interesting trying to get on but as soon as our lesson started, he went right to work. We worked a bit on flexion and then on asking him to really engage with his hind end. He's a little heavier in the left rein, especially when traveling right. Carolyn helped me figure out I need more right leg. I'm not entirely sure why this worked, I just know that it did. We then played around with some leg yielding and while it wasn't great, I had 2 phenomenal steps of it - probably the truest leg yield I've ever ridden. I could really feel him cross over behind and engage with his inside hind. Awesome feeling! I love my pony!
This was a "river" running behind a subdivision on my way to the barn. This is a drainage ditch of sorts but it's typically totally dry with grass. At the end of the day, I think we got in the neighborhood of 5 inches of rain.
On Friday, Cherie arrived but she was too late to give us a lesson. Buuuttt she got done teaching her clinic on Saturday a bit early so we got a lesson on Saturday afternoon. It was awesome! Her style is very similar to Amy's and she really focused in on getting Charlie supple laterally as well as FORWARD! One thing I really struggle with at home is the terrain. It's not flat and I sometimes have issues with that. Ok, a lot of times I have issues with that. Cherie knew the ring wasn't flat but didn't realize how much of a hill there was until seeing it in person. She basically said Charlie must go forward from the get go - no half-assing it. Once we got that down, we worked on flexing in and out down the long side, making sure Charlie was always flexed in around the short side. We also did some canter-walk-canter transitions to engage his hind end - the point was to walk and immediately canter again. No worrying about quality of the walk or the frame as long as he used his hind end to canter off. Then we did a little haunches in and haunches out (very tough exercise for me as I have never really played around with moving the hind end, just the front as in shoulder-in) - we were mildly successful. I've spent so much time worrying he was throwing his haunches out, that I have apparently over-corrected the problem and he now tends to travel with his haunches in...story of my life.
We were able to jump a bit and since Cherie is a position freak, I told her I really want to correct the right drift thing. She was able to figure out that I'm taking my right calf off over the fence allowing Charlie to drift right. Who knew it took so much concentration to keep your calf where it's supposed to be? We did a couple of little courses and the goal was to incorporate the flat work so I was to really concentrate on making sure Charlie's shoulder stayed on the track and getting his inside hind to come up and under himself in the turns. Hard work I tell you! It was really great because I had to think about each and every stride. When I did it correctly, it made such a difference in our jump.
I got to puppy-sit Cherie's puppy on Saturday while she was teaching. Kea is seriously cute! And so well behaved considering she's just a puppy.
On Sunday, we just hacked and Monday, I flatted. Charlie was very, very good. It took a bit to get him forward but holy cow once he was forward, he was on it. Good pony! We also practiced haunches-out and haunches-in at the canter and were quite successful in my mind. I got the ponies a new round bale this weekend and I *think* I have the container issue squared away. I have this plastic netting stuff I got from dad. I wrapped it around it like a fence and secured it to itself with baling twine. Seems to be working. There's still some spillage until they eat it down a bit but I'm just scooping it up and putting it in spare haynets to be used at a later date. I'm feeling pretty ingenious right now. ;)
Charlie enjoying the round bale.
You can really see the netting in this picture.
We're off tomorrow for Southern Pines. I have to come home on Thursday evening for my interview on Friday but Charlie will stay there and I'll head back up after I'm done interviewing. Fingers are crossed!