So Gavin had his first trainer appointment last night, and like the doting pony-mom that I am, I showed up early to give him encouragement and try to scrape all of the shedding hair off of his plump little form. I was thrilled to get to watch, and the transformation was interesting. He went from being sticky with giraffe neck to a little powerhouse in about 5 minutes.
Some things I noticed between my trainers ride and the piece of riding I did last week that got video'd (video of both attached to show difference... I'm trying to be brave like L - don't judge too harshly, it was definitely an off day for me):
1. You can tell when he's really coming through because:
a. The reach from his back legs is MUCH greater
b. Because he's putting more weight on his hind-end, he can (and is) much more animated with
his front legs (much more knee action, less piddly-little-pony action)
c. He gets super loose, and his back swings - and I mean it really swings. Nobody has to point it
out to me. It's obvious. Sort of a strange thought - but the way he moves when he's engaged
like that reminds me of a big cat (panther or something).
2. What is she doing differently that I can see?
a. More solid rein connection (aka - her reins don't go slack and then tight, slack and then tight)
b. He's being pushed more forward (while watching my video I actually clucked at the screen)
c. More, what I'll call sincere posting (rather than my "oops, did I just touch your back, posts").
This I believe has to do with core activation, as I notice it gets better when I actively think about
engaging my core.
Some things she mentioned to me:
1. He is very dull to the left leg, and doesn't care to move off of it
2. He really does seem to have a much harder time cantering to the right (they had several discussions about the right lead last night - it ended on a good note with him picking it up no problem). She doesn't seem sure if it's a physical issue, or if he just doesn't understand what we're asking - so we're going to work on that.
3. She noticed that he likes to come right off the bit on the straightaways and take off (hey - I noticed that too!). She got him to relax into it (I need to ask her how), praised him, and then let it go for the day.
4. He seems willing to try, and doesn't hold grudges when he gets corrected (that a boy Gavin!)
Schedule for the rest of the week:
1. She will ride the first half of Thursday and then I'll get on (so long as their ride goes well)
2. Friday she will either be riding or long-lining him in the morning (boo - I can't make it!)
a. The long-lining would be for more canter work. She could drive more, and he wouldn't have to
think about someone being perched up on his back.
3. Saturday - I have a lesson! Yay!
4. Sunday - I ride all on my own, and get back to her with what felt good/bad/etc.
This is going to be a great month! :)