I have just realised that I never blogged about the lesson I had last week with Pea! Pea is now in regular work again after the chiropractor visit and having to build his work up slowly and was starting to work well so I decided it was time for a lesson. I have been debating for the past couple of months whether to stick with my current instructor as I have had a few issues lately such as:
a) she's never suggested about the chiropractor/physiotherapist/anyone for Pea
b) despite repeatedly telling her about our canter issues we never properly worked on it
c) my lessons were always much shorter than I asked for, despite me warming up beforehand
d) I have felt that as of late she's not been as interested
I know that some of these I should have sorted earlier, such as getting a chiro or pushing more about lesson length and issues, however these things happen and you never properly think about them until later I guess! So, after much debate and talking to a friend who has the same instructor, we both agreed on the same thing about maybe trying someone else. I already had someone in mind to try so I decided to go for it, after all if it didn't work out then there's not much lost but it's worth the try! So I booked a half hour lesson for last Wednesday. Unfortunately, a few days before, Pea's canter started going downhill again, though it was probably a good thing as we could have worked on it during the lesson!
I warmed up before the lesson, just giving him a walk and trot round on a loose rein. Once Cathy came into the arena, we discussed our background such as how long I have owned Pea, issues we've had, what we want to work on, etc etc. Straight away Cathy said about getting the chiropractor out as soon as possible as it was clear that Pea was showing discomfort about something and as he's not had regular treatment over the years, it is probably just niggling him at times. She also suggested about seeing a chiropractor or someone myself (though I still need to organise/find the funds for this!). She then watched us walk and trot around a bit and noted how he falls through his left shoulder and tilts his head to the right, not bending correctly; this means he is not straight, and this is further shown on circles as he turns his head but the rest of his body doesn't necessarily follow through, so it's not a uniform bend.
To correct this she has mentioned that I need to send him forwards more but without constantly nagging which is an unfortunate bad habit of mine as when he used to be naughty he would slow down and so I felt I always needed to put my leg on, although this has just meant that he learns to ignore it. Therefore, we worked on coming round the corner onto the long side and giving him a few short sharp taps with my leg to send him forward and then not nagging and leaving him be unless he slowed down considerably. She also mentioned that I tend to use my right rein to guide him back straight but this just causes him to fall through his left shoulder more, so instead to use my left leg to push him over but give with my right rein. This will help make him straighter and I need to keep an eye that I can't see either of his eyes more than the other, indicating him turning his head though he should be straight, and if so to correct him. I have been working on this the past few days and feel we are getting a lot straighter, although I'm not too sure about our circles but hopefully that will come with time! I also need to check my position, as although Cathy stated it's good, I tend to ride in what she calls a 'chair' position where my heels are slightly forward compared to my shoulder-elbow-hip line so I ensure I put myself in the right position before I start and then regularly check that I'm still in line. It feels slightly odd as I can feel my heels being further back but I think I am keeping to it well!
There was a lot to take in but everything she said made sense and I feel like I'm really starting to work on getting us both to go better so fingers crossed that next year we start to see some good results! He's seeing the chiropractor on Saturday to see what's wrong, if anything, and then see how we go from there!
Thanks for reading,
Laura & Pea x