I haven't had very positive lessons on Apollo in my life. A lot of instructors have said some pretty harsh things about us, particularly him. And not constructive criticism either. Hearing that your horse is stupid, ugly or useless has yet to improve anything in my experience. Those kind of comments shut my brain off to learning pretty quickly.
I actually had made up mind not too long ago that I wouldn't lesson on him again. We have so much fun now (on the trails and in the arena) that I didn't want to ruin it by having someone come in and sh*t all over it. But I decided to give it another try.
And it was freakin awesome. All the photos in this post came from D on her phone :)
Apollo's been a bit spicy lately and I've been feeling very crooked/clunky in correcting him. I explained this to Coach D and she adjusted my stirrups to a better length. And voila - much better! Not perfect but a huge improvement. He seemed to relax more to because I wasn't so tense holding my body where I thought it should be.
She absolutely loved him. Took lots of pictures of him to show her friends how cute he is and gave him lots of pets (which he loved). She rode him for a while too and had a lot fun with him.
My face here...wtf...
She said 16 is still young and there's a lot that he and I can get out and do together. She saw potential for dressage or eventing. She loved his quiet temperament and willing attitude.
She gave us lots of good things to work on:
1) Practice walking and trotting through a "fan" of three poles on the ground.
2) Set a line of poles down the center of the arena with spaces in between. Leg yield through the spaces or do a mini serpentine through the center of the poles.
3) Ride with contact (I ride with super loose reins a lot....which doesn't help anyone).
4) Think about inside leg to outside rein more, especially in moments where he feels crooked.
Post-lesson sweaty pony!
After years of being "torn down" in lessons I am so grateful to have D. I learn so much but I also have a lot of fun. I wish I had found her sooner! I need to figure out how to fit more lessons with her into my meager budget. :)