I hadn't taken a lesson in a couple weeks now because both Betsy and I were crazy busy with our respective lives. I had a HUGE presentation I was preparing for and felt uncomfortable taking time out for a lesson when I needed to perfect my pitch.
That gave me more time to work with Toby and improve his fitness level, which (ahem) is a bit lacking but improving.
Toby was terrific today. In fact, he's growing on Betsy (not that she didn't like him before). He has such a cute face and he's a nice mover. I had our chiropractor out last night to give the old guy an adjustment. He had many sore muscle/back issues from the work he's been asked to do lately. I want to be sure I take care of him and not overdo anything. He's trying so hard for me.
Our focus today was mainly on me being consistent in asking him to keep his frame. He will get into a great frame then he will get out of it after a stride or two. He usually pulls me down and out of the saddle with his neck and head and his back goes flat. My focus is to sit back and deep in the saddle, and when he tries to raise his head up, or try to pull me down and out that he will feel the resistance of the bit in his mouth and the uncomfortable feeling of my legs on his side when he comes out of his frame. When he's in a good frame he will be comfortable because there will be no resistance from me with either my hands or legs. My problem is that sometimes I can't "chew gum and walk" at the same time. I will get my hands right but I forget to use my legs. By the end of the lesson both Toby and I were doing loads better! It all sounds so simple but I'm just beginning to learn how to use all of my body to ride a horse. When I do it right the results are so cool! I love it!
At the end of the lesson, Betsy recommended that I take Toby to the local shows coming up. She thinks we are doing really well together. Our biggest stumbling block is getting him into a horse trailer. Although Toby showed all over the place on the AA circuit, he must have had an unpleasant trailering experience prior to coming to our current barn. He will get into a trailer but once he's in he will have a panic attack and explode. So Betsy recommended a trainer in the area who is excellent with dealing with this particular problem in horses. I think it'd be well worth my while to bring this trainer in and try to resolve Toby's fear once he's in a trailer.