It seems things always seem to work out, even when Sarah springs it upon catching me entirely unawares. This time, it was taking our riding to one hand. Sounds like a commonality, but I honestly dont think I have ever ridden a well broke horse one handed at the lope (except for Wesley...once). While I had ridden Milo one handed during the drill team, it was NO WHERE near how we are riding today, and I certainly wasnt asking for any self carriage or correct movement.
The lope work, in my opinion, was fantastic. When we went into it I honestly thought it would be a trainwreck, but Milo surprised me so well and loped beautifully on a light contact. While, naturally, we will need to just build on it and school where needed, I was blown away. He stayed relatively balanced and driven, I was totally smitten. Looking at the video now I will definitely need to figure something out better for my right hand instead of the awkward flailing and whatnot, but minor details!
Sarah had be begin working on our slow to fast in the lope, by reaching my hand forward and encouraging him to extend. There wasnt a whole lot of a speed increase, but she reminded me that I can lean forward and take some weight off of his back as well to further encourage the speed increase. Again, something to work on and take some time developing. We dont want him rocketing into the speed increase, so slow and steady will win the race here ironically.
We gave Milo a break and did a little spin work, which is coming along. We have ground contact! Continuing to build strength will be paramount, but with a firm planted foot now, we can incorporate some speed into the mix.
Next we needed to move into our lead changes. The last few weeks of building the counter canter were necessary to assisting in some clean changes. Well, in theory.
Come to find out, there is still an issue with me. Not so much one such as a weighted hip, a needed torso twist, or sitting back. But I need to allow my body to make the change. Yes, one of those abstract things that you cant point your finger directly onto. There were many an attempt where I either held onto the left rein instead of half-halting with it, didnt bring/bump through with my right rein to keep Milo looking into the desired lead direction, or allow my body to change into the lead. And poor Milo, he really wanted to change, and he even began to get a bit frustrated, but the timing just wasnt there.
Sarah encouraged me, however, as I started to lose confidence in myself wondering why it just wasnt happening, saying I should try the work in the large outdoor arena where Milo is boarded, to allow myself to have plenty of space to relax. She attributed some of the anxiety due to her smaller arena where corners and direction come up so quickly. I was skeptical of it's real impact on my riding and doubted real success in the outdoor arena, however, but she further supported me by suggesting I work on it on a nice long straight-of-way on the trail. I just need to experiment with myself more and find where I am tensing up. More self-reflection, oh joy.
We ended the lesson with a little more on the spin work, and Sarah encouraged me to pick up the speed. Milo stepped it up a notch for a few rotations each direction, she she advised to build on that now. She even questioned if I was sure I didnt want to do Western Pleasure, because "Milo has such a cute outline with perked ears". Although its what Milo is bred for, I'm a little burned out. But she agrees Milo will be a great reiner and possibly even some Western Riding thrown into the mix.
I hope to have a lesson this coming Saturday, as I miraculously have it scheduled off of work (how the heck did that happen??). So I'm hoping I can figure out whats going on in this next week, and get more assistance from Sarah before our first Washington State Horseman approved B-System show in only two weeks. While I dont have the time off confirmed just yet, I'm hoping to be able to attend and try my hand at the Green Reiner class, which not only calls for one handed, but also a lead change. No pressure, however, I am not going to get that competitive drive for this show, I know that I am truly in this journey for itself, and the monetary successes will just come with the package when they are supposed to.