I've had a hard time coming up with how to write this post the past couple of days. Probably because in my last lesson I never had that big Aha moment like I typically do. Not saying I didnt get as much from the lesson, but I just havent been able to find the words to express what happened.
When we arrived at Sarah's last Saturday, she wanted to get on him first. Milo tried hard for her, didnt give as much sass as he usually does to people who arent Mom, and what Sarah told me from her time on him was that he dramatically walks out of his left shoulder. He also had a really hard time with holding the shoulder straight and staying over his back. Her reasoning from this was that his shoulder bulge is an overcompensation from my exaggerated right seat bone, as discovered in my lessons on Wesley. Aside from that, Sarah noted that Milo is strong and has all of the pieces in place. It is now my job, and challenge, to figure out how to put all of the pieces together to form the puzzle.
I have to find a way to stay soft in my body, to stay in tune with it and Milo's and to ride in one unit.
I have been experimenting throughout the last three rides since that lesson. Today, I slowed everything down and focused on myself and my horse every step of the way. Trying to avoid micromanaging, I simply wanted to be aware of what my body was doing to effect how Milo's body responded.
Immediately, I noted how he walked off not in a straight line, but always with the left shoulder leading. Why was this? I focused on my body and concentrated on my seat bones. I tried again and again, keeping my seat balanced over both seat bones, and soon Milo was stepping off straight with his shoulders in check.
Now forward, I remembered Sarah telling me in the lesson to be aware of Milo's hip. When I ask for his shoulder he has been evading by bringing the hip in which does bring the shoulder in eventually, but he still is walking out the shoulder. Staying aware of this evasion, I again tried to find the cause in my body. When I found it was due still to an imbalance in my hips, I righted them and when the evasion occurred, I used a subtle half halt in the outside rein to rebalance Milo over his drive leg. It seemed to work for a step or two, and when I arced him slightly it seemed to improve more.
I experimented more on my body throughout the ride, and tried to maintain a light seat with relaxed ankles. It feel odd to be in such a position, but the elevation in my horse's back was notable. Clearly we were working together, step by step.
No incredible spins or slides, no fast lope circles or lead changes. Just trying to figure out how the puzzle goes together.