As soon as I got in the saddle though , I knew we were going to have a good ride!
I put our new warmup routine into practice and Midge felt amazing! Just soft and bendy and really focused, a real treat. Pony was starting to feel sorta trained, using her back, pushing from behind, and....drum roll...turning off my outside aids with no drama! There is hope!
Lesson started by doing a walk pirouette in both directions, which Midge said was a piece of cake. Next, a walking turn on the forehand (think standard turn on the forehand, but with some forward -the front legs are on their own small circle rather than pivoting, the hind legs are out on a larger circle). This was more challenging since I've been really drilling the shoulder control and slacking a little on the haunches. We spent a bit of time getting it as fluid as the pirouettes, but Midge had her game face on and figured out what we wanted very quickly.
Moving on to trot...through the transition I was like "WOW!" and had a huge smile on my face. The transition was everything we've been working for, and the trot felt AMAZING - that powerful feeling like they're really taking you somewhere but it's completely adjustable, light and floaty. Since it was so awesome, we just played a little with collecting a few steps here and there. She was awesome, so we left well enough alone and moved up to canter.
For canter, we're starting in that awesome trot on a 10m circle, then cantering out and changing the bend to what feels like slightly counter flexion (but is really straight) on a 20m circle. Again, the transition was amazing, and the first few strides felt really, really nice. We played with that a few more times, being sure to transition down while the canter felt amazing, then finding THE trot and going back up to canter.
Then we switched to left lead canter. Again, awesome transition up, but I got all muddled and hung on the inside rein. Midge got frustrated, because I've been totally on her case about popping her outside shoulder - which is sadly her only option if I'm inadvertently dragging her nose inside the circle. So, if not out, where else for pony to go but up? We had a rodeo like never before lol. So, back to the trot, canter out and try again. There was some repeat rodeo action while I got my s#*t together, but eventually we had some super nice work to the left.
Homework: More of the above exercises for pony. For me? For the love of everything good, STOP overusing my left rein.
Best part: the trainer feedback (the feedback OTHER than the above lecture re: my inability to use both reins equally and creating angry Bridget :) -
"You're going to have so much fun with Bridget. I know you're having fun now, but this could be a really special horse for you. She could be really good at this." Having a coach that believes you can do it? Super cool!
So there you go, a lesson recap of extremes - probably the nicest trot I've ridden, followed by the worst rodeo I've stayed in the saddle for! Overall, best lesson ever, and one I will do my best to remember the feel of the next time the wheels fall off the bus and I'm feeling down.