My last few rides have been so-so. Can't quite put my finger on it. I have had some successes but I feel like I am not quite getting it. In general, though, I feel a bit like I am letting Gem down. It's like he's waiting for me to do something. I can sense it. I have been working on some weak areas, but frankly they are making me weak! I have been experiencing jelly-legs lately when I dismount.
We are still having issues with the way he bends when going around corners. I feel like a failure in this area. He tends to turn his head to the outside just a smidge as we round corners, causing his neck and shoulders to bend inside. This has been an issue since day one. As we come up to a corner, I apply my inside leg to get him to bend around it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sigh. I end up using my reins to reinforce my leg, which I am not too keen on.
I am still not able to ask him for a large posting trot. He will do one instead of a lope, but he will not do one if I am asking him to speed up from a jog. Our sitting jog is quick-ish already, so I guess he just thinks he's going fast enough. :-) I can apply leg pressure all I want, but he only speeds up a little teensy bit. I can almost see it in his eyes that he is routing for me to ask him correctly so he can respond. Come on, you can do it!! Sigh.
It's getting busier in the arena because of the change of temperature. It's hit and miss on keeping Gem's attention on me. I now keep him walking, even in lesson. I want him to realize that we are working and it's not about standing in the middle of the arena gabbing. Keeping him moving helps, but I feeling like I am pushing or pulling him all the time to keep him focused on the task at hand. If I give him one nano-second, his attention will move over to the other horses in the arena. I don't mind him being curious or friendly, but currently when he does this he disengages from me completely. I am trying not to take it personally. :-) Hopefully, the novelty of having new arena friends will wear off.
On a positive note getting on Gem has improved. Out of the last 3 times I got on him, he gave me the business once and it was minor. I changed the location of where I get on him and I think that made a bit of a difference. I also walk him around the arena a couple of times with whoa and back up thrown in a few times for good measure prior to taking him over the to mounting step-ladder. I believe this exercise sets the tone, so when I ask him to stand, he does.
I have been tired after the last few rides and looking forward to my vodka soda when I get home. My body has been in a constant state of sore the last week, a side-effect of working hard at trying to dial into the right number. Not Gem's fault, really. He's waiting for me to get it so he can answer and we can communicate. I hope I find the right number soon. I don't like feeling like I am letting him down.
What was I thinking....?