Wednesday Lesson

We had a very successful lesson on Wednesday. Seasonal trainer was practically giddy with how nicely Nilla was going. She was shocked that I was able to get her on the bit and bending as well as she was. Right now, Nilla is so new to this we can only do it for a few strides. Even if she's willing to keep going, I like to let her release because I don't want her getting sore.

warm up bending
We started by doing lots of trotting and walking circles. I know, I know; it's thrilling stuff. However, it's what we're doing and I'm honestly thrilled with her recent improvement. 

I rarely smile when riding - I usually have a "concentrating" face

So much stretch
I have an easier time using my leg without stirrups so we got some good connection while walking around sans stirrups. I need to do more stirrup-less trot work, but I try to only do that in the treeless saddle as this saddle does not fit her well and I don't want to punish her.

starting to give to the bit - at the walk

I then made my husband ride to do some canter work with her. He wasn't happy about it since he was only wearing jeans. He also tried to claim he didn't have a helmet, but we have identical helmets so that didn't work.

For anyone who hasn't been following along, I don't ask Nilla to canter because her departures are still too rough for my back. She used to think cantering meant crow hopping the whole way along. She can now canter nicely, but her departure is bouncy. 

needs to be more forward and less upward
 I got back on and did some more trot work and then we set up 4 poles in a circle for trotting. Nilla really likes pole work as she likes having a clear objective and a thing to accomplish. 
Really coming onto the bit

Bendy and on the bit - a little bit falling in though
She was being so good that we changed one of the poles into a little cross-rail. She was very happy to pop over it. I even got some canter following the jumps. If Nilla goes into canter of her own free will, it's not bouncy. We only have that issue with departures. Since we used to have it all of the time, it's a huge improvement and I know we'll get past this with more practice.

All in all, a really great lesson and the trainer was going to ride her the next day and really push her to do a lot of canter transitions and work on connecting to the bit.

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