April came to watch me ride since her stb is just started under saddle. I thought the Danny lesson would be good for her to see, and hopefully she came out of it with something to use with her horse. I hope to see her have a lesson in the near future with Dom so I can see him move and offer encouragement. She's already started her horse Shadow off on the right path, so I know he'll come along great!
I think this was the 4th lesson we had with Danny. First was just steering and stopping. The second was posture, steering, and stopping. The third was bending and getting him off my leg/into the bit which I have that video in prior posts. So yes, I think this is the 4th like I said. It started off with compliments! Danny knew that I'd been working on what we've learned as he could tell Spyder was more manageable, more flexible, and more prone to respond to aids.
We worked on the bit and did some steering, and Danny could see that I kept him in a frame well (last lesson this is basically all we worked on with moving off of leg). We worked up to the trot, and it was inconsistent with speeds as well as sloppy. I remembered the two items I was in control of so when I was asked, direction and speed. When Spyder would speed up, I had to turn him and continue the other direction. The turn started with me being sharp, but Danny let me know I needed to guide him and keep my leg with him to hold his balance. Oops. He was getting a bit off balance which made for a few pacey steps, but Danny told me to change my diagonal to put him back in balance. He said, "who cares what diagonal you're on for this exercise, that's for crap, like showing!"
I had to keep the rhythm and slow him every time that he wanted to speed up. I had to change the pace of my posting and work on squeezing my knees/thighs into Spyder's shoulder to encourage slowing the speed. We did this working in a circle, and when he was listening, I took him around the field to make sure it would stay consistent. It did! Another step that he added was always asking him something at every point of the ride. I would ask him for a transition up to trot, but push him into it moving him off my leg. When in the trot, I'd still ask him to move over with my leg, and then ask him to walk, but use my leg to move him out. This seemed to help Spyder a lot because he's paying attention. Instead of nagging him here and there, you're constantly working and asking. I think he was happy about it!
Now that we have the steering and the stop/go, we can work on the speed and consistency. It must be nice to be blessed with a horse with tempo. My legs, back, arms, and thighs can feel ever bit of the "slow down" steps that we took! I'd say we're getting somewhere... FINALLY! Walking back to the barn, a mini was following us/coming with us because the girl was going over to barn 2 to ride with others. Spyder was fine until we let the mini catch up to us and the moment he stepped in front, he looked at him like it was going to eat him. In his defense, the little girl did have a pink sparkly crop and used it lightly. I'm thinking that maybe Spyder saw that? I have no idea why he was OK with the mini following until it got a bit closer/up to him, but we'll have to work on being around other horses.
When we got back to our barn, I showed April his canter and was curious to know if it looked "normal." She let me know that it looks just like any other horse she's seen which makes me happy because she wasn't a standardbred person before hers (as was I - I had owned one, but never trained him for anything that mattered, I just rode him). It is great to know that someone else is exploring a new breed and trying to make it work. She saw that it could, and we have each other to talk about "horse problems" with!