Junior got two days off because the first two days of the first week of class were a bit hectic for me. Go figure. Yesterday it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get him to pay attention to me. I made the realization (after the ride, of course) that his ADD-ness when the arena is busy is probably at LEAST 50% because busy arenas make ME uptight. After having private lessons for years or riding in group lessons where the only horses in the arena are going the same way and staying on the rail, I am still trying to get used to maneuvering traffic. I know the "rules" but I still get really nervous when I'm not sure if someone is going to stay on the rail or cut in and make a circle. I start to worry about being in other people's way. I can't believe I didn't make the solid connection that of course if I'M tense, HE'S going to be tense. Duh. I KNOW this. He DOES get uppity when horses start to leave and he's suddenly left alone. If I keep him on task, on the rail, and collected he usually gets over it after a few moments, though. We have the least amount of problems if either A)We go in as a group and we leave as a group. Or B) We go in alone (or with a few horses) and we stay that way. He's most bothered by horses leaving and I'm most bothered by navigating multiple traffic patterns. After a while he (or I) finally started to relax and get down to business and had a decent ride.
Today I had a private lesson. I LOVE private lessons. It's what I'm used to. KAT is really good about giving equal attention during group lessons, but 30 minutes of constant instruction is better for me. We spent time fine-tuning driving him forward into the bit to make him use his hip and step deeper. I still have a hard time judging this from in the saddle so it's nice to have her there to tell me the moment he starts driving correctly. I can kind of feel it....I think.....
We also worked on lope and loping off from a halt. He had started to be a real pain about loping off before his 7 rides with KAT over Christmas. I can align his body correctly now and he doesn't fuss as much about starting the lope. I've actually been working the last few days on loping figure 8's. Bringing him down to a jog to take the other lead and as long as I get him down he takes the other lead really well. I've tried twice to get him to do a flying change but he doesn't seem to know what I'm asking quite yet. I'll keep doing simple changes. I'm just so glad he's making the simple change so well. He's really come a LONG way in 4 months. He hasn't had a scary stumble in a while now. A few little ones when he isn't paying attention to what he's doing, but he's actually been really well at the lope and that's when we were having the most problems.
Today is our 4 month anniversary. I really love being a horse owner. I think we've started to form a pretty decent bond. He's super friendly to everyone, but I'm past that now and into a different place with him. I sort of feel like he sticks his nose out for everyone who gets anywhere near him, but he gives me more than that. At least I'd like to think so. I can't wait to see where we'll be in another four months!