So, I had a lesson last night. I was hoping we would have a clean slate and be able to work on the stuff we've been progressing on, but it seemed like Ashke was still in the same headspace I found him in on Saturday.
I take full responsibility. I am really stressed right now. As an avid political science nutjob, and someone with a lot of rights I could potentially lose, I have been closely following the election. Can I just say that I am having a hard time dealing with the amount of misogyny that it takes to choose a child rapist over a woman who sent a bunch of emails that resulted in no action taken against the US; to choose a pathological liar who has cheated and scammed his way to billionaire status over a person who has spent their life in public service; to choose a man who brags about his ability to assault women with impunity over a woman who has stood faithful to her vows. I am speechless with sorrow, trembling with fear and holding onto hope with the edges of my fingernails. It's no wonder my horse is a tense freak right now.
I tried to ground and compartmentalize my anxiety into a neat bucket in the back of my head before I walked into the barn. Ashke greeted me with a nicker and seemed happy to see me. I got him brushed and saddled, then started our warm up around the edges of the arena. He was still more up than forward, braced than relaxed, head up and fighting me rather than obedient. (Amanda said I should shoot for obedient rather than submissive, because he is not a submissive horse). He jumped, spooked and tried to bolt when the garage doors came down, but I was ready for it and just laughed. He was so very tense.
We started with serpentines. Trot-walk-trot. Then canter-walk-canter serpentines. There was a single pole in the middle of the arena. We sometimes walked over it, sometimes walked past the end and a couple of times we sidepassed over it. It gave Ashke something to focus on while we were doing the serpentines. It took awhile to get some decent bend. We incorporated the spiral circle at the canter in each direction and then back out. We did the canter a 10m circle, transitioning to a walk as we approached the rail and finally after a bunch of those, he began to get light and listen to my seat. We did leg yields at the trot, shoulder in and haunches in at the walk, and then I worked on keeping the canter as slow as possible without breaking to a trot. To the left he was amazing. To the right, he struggled and so Amanda had me add in a leg yield to help him balance. At the slow, collected canter our transitions down were much better and almost entirely off my seat.
Then Amanda had me work on the haunches in on the diagonal. That was hard, but we managed a couple of decent steps in each direction. That was when Amanda told me we were doing a half pass. I was pretty stoked. We finished up with some solid, balanced working canter on the rail, with me adding the leg yield to help him be balanced to the right.
Overall, the lesson was very good, Ashke tried hard, and I was able to forget for awhile all of the fear and anxiety I've been dealing with. I do think that I need to get back to a four day a week schedule, even if that means riding three weekday nights. And Ashke is telling me he would love to get back out on trail again. If our weather holds, we should be able to ride on Saturday the 12th.
K found herself a synergist that actually fits Eddy really well for about half of what one new would be and it is an absolutely beautiful saddle. I wouldn't mind having one for Ashke. However, every time I mention it J sticks her fingers in her ears and goes "la la la la la la la". Its an affliction. I should get her seen by a doctor.