Thursday, 5 May 2016

[Lesson Report] Claire Adams 03.05.2016

After Claire gave me a free lesson a couple of weeks ago, I scheduled in for a proper lesson with her to see how we got on and for whether to use her on a regular basis. I think that with all the issues I've had with Pea, it hasn't helped that I've neglected booking in lessons. I felt as though that it might be a bit of a waste with him playing up so much, when in fact, that's the ideal time! I originally booked a lesson with Claire for last Monday, but typically Pea pulled a shoe the day before and ended up being on box rest for a couple of days until he could see the farrier. He then also had the physio so had another day off after that and then weather and work got in the way so it wasn't rescheduled until this past Tuesday. 

We started out by popping him on the lunge for ten minutes with Claire starting on one rein to explain what we were after and I took over for the second rein. As he had gone well on the Sunday but still had a couple of stops, Claire thought it would be a good idea to pop him on the lunge first to get him going and learn that that's what we're after. It's good to see how she gets him going on the lunge as I think I tend to let him go at a more mediocre pace rather than getting after him and make him really work. 

I then popped on board and walked round a bit. She emphasised the importance of me letting my legs just hang and give him short, sharp squeezes and get a reaction from that. Without realising, I tend to keep my leg on which he ends up switching off to. When I then squeeze him forward, he should react straight away and when he doesn't, he gets a sharp tap from the whip to emphasise that he needs to move. Pea can be a quick learner and so he did give a great walk which was miles different to his normal work! The only issue with him is that he can also be reactive so if he decides to object to the whip, that's when we have the stops and stomps! 

We then progressed to trot and he had a mini moment of 'do I trot or stop' but luckily realised trotting was the better answer! After a few rounds, Claire asked how I would feel about riding him round on the lunge. After never having done this I was slightly worried as it's a very weird thing feeling like I'm giving up control and a bit sceptical in case anything happened. However, it was actually a really good learning curve for me as Pea went into a great trot that is vastly different from his normal trot and we even had some canters where I actually learnt to relax. Normally, I tense in the canter forever expecting him to buck, which of course, doesn't help! When we swapped to the right rein, I mentioned how I felt rather unbalanced in the trot so we came back to halt and Claire explained that he tends to lean a bit and pushes me to the outside. This causes my left hip to drop and my right hip to over-compensate which is why I feel off balance and as though I'm on a motorbike. We worked on me pushing my outside shoulder back a bit and imagining that I was pushing my left elbow into my ribs. I felt that this really helped and the trot felt so much better. We then did a quick comparison and it's amazing the difference I felt. 

We finished the lesson there as he had worked incredibly hard and it's always a good idea to finish on a good note. I now have another lesson booked in for next week which I'm rather looking forward to now! 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

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