It's hard to believe that I haven't posted since Supercamp! PPoMT has had at least one lesson since Supercamp. We planned a trail ride/lesson at Warner Park, but because of the 13 year Cicada cycle, we had to move it to the usual lesson barn. Six of us played online, then rode in the barn for an eight hour 'lesson day'! Sonny & I did pretty good, his online circles got a comment of 'that's looking like level 3 rhythm and relaxation with slack in the rope' from Carol Herring ,PP,,but then she also got to see a Sonny temper fit at one point-twist and kick out--. He laid down in the sand several times, so I got to put a cue to that, working toward lay down on cue. Carol had us all working on improving our porcupine to be able to transfer that to reining during Freestyle. We broke for lunch, then the afternoon was 4 hours of Freestyle. Honestly, it didnt' seem that long, but my bottom agreed with the clock when we called it quits after 4 hours! I thought that saddle was pretty comfy, but I'm not accustomed to 4 hours of riding. Sonny & I did fairly well, he wasn't bracing at the HQ disengagements, and he gave me permission to mount quickly. One cool thing was when another PPoMT student and I were doing indirect rein at the same time, in the same direction, then leading out with direct rein back to the follow the rail and I was directly behind her at the start of the maneuver, and then again when we resumed following the rail. Carol commented that we looked like we were doing a drill team maneuver. Felt cool! We played 'beep-beep' for part of the lesson, and the other student that I requested a 'beep-beep' from immediately backed up while swinging her CS/SS at Sonny. I'm thankful that he only got high headed as he scooted out of the way and didn't rear. For a split second I thought he might. Carol had mentioned backing up as part of the beep-beep, but I need to clarify before playing again that perhaps the front person should only swing the CS/SS as phase 1, then add backing up only if a phase 2 is needed. We were only a couple of feet behind her when she suddenly went into reverse swinging the string. Yikes! He was trying his best to get out of the way, and would have backed with only the string. For sure, he didn't 'tailgate' anymore that day!
Carol had one of those extendable fishing poles like Pat uses. She had a plastic shopping bag tied to the end of it and asked if we wanted to see if our horses would yield their front quarters with it as a driving tool. The first horse yielded nicely, a tad skeptical. The second horse got high headed, but yielded. Sonny jumped 6 feet sideways and made that 'rollers in the nose' sound. I guess I must've been on my balance point, because I sat the spook without a bit of feeling insecure in my seat. It was done before I had time to realize what was happening. Needless to say, the next time I asked for only a frienly game with the scary stick and bag! Sonny was still skeptical, but braver.
Toward the end of the lesson, we were practicing 'partial disengagement', and Sonny was getting more bracy with this technique. Carol instructed us in a slightly different way than I remembered Linda showing it on the dvd, so maybe next time I'll try it more like Linda shows it to see if Sonny is less bracy with it. His lateral flexions are getting much softer.
Middle Tennessee went from Winter to Summer without much of a Spring, and that has impacted my play times with Sonny. It's hard to find a shady spot to play. Also, I 'upped' the game of catch in a manner that someone on the forum mentioned. If Sonny leaves when I've made eye contact with him or have yielded his HQ, then I think 'good idea! but if you're going to go away from me, then please go away faster!", and I would ask for trot or canter with cluck or smootch and swinging the SS rhythmically. I felt no frustration or anger, so I know I wasnt projecting any. At first it seemed to alarm him, but after several sessions, he is cantering off without getting emotional about it. I'm hoping this will not only improve our catching game, but perhaps help us to break the 'canter block' that we seem to have in the circle game. Several sessions, he never did catch me, so I would finally walk up to him and either halter and bring him in to play, or just give scratches and leave him in the pasture.
I'm having fear issues again about riding. I hate it, and am trying to push myself thru it with approach and retreat. I'm letting the heat be an excuse not to ride. By the time we've played a little bit online, I'm hot and drenched with sweat, and convince myself that I'm too tired to attempt a ride,,not enough left in me to focus and do my best, so I tell myself. I'm going to have to bite the financial bullet and get some private lessons for myself to help me gain confidence. Support IS one of the keys to success.