Abbey was on form and in the zone for our lesson today. 😁

We got off to a slow start but it allowed me to show Sam what I’ve been struggling with the last couple of rides. Namely, getting Abbey to ‘give’ and ‘let go’.

She’s such a clever pony that she’s learned that she can to hang on to the bit rather than relax her jaw and poll. The flexions we had been doing and were working, no longer seemed effective.

Yesterday I got round this by stepping it up a gear and using outside flexion as well as inside, to get her to ‘let go’.

Today, Sam gave me another tool. Slow the walk (my speed, not hers!) and, on a circle, do shoulder in, with flexion. It’s more demanding. It makes her think where she is putting her feet while also getting her to relinquish control and relax.

We worked on my position. Left foot needs to be more level to ground. After years of ‘heels down’, I’ve learnt to put my heels down by tensing my calves and jamming my knee into the saddle (which turns my foot out). When I finally managed to do this Abbey instantly wrapped around my leg.

My right hip needs to open more to allow my leg to go further back. When I can feel Abbey’s side along the length of my calf, it’s in the right place.

In my canter – trot transitions and when I ask Abbey for ‘big trot’, I need to think about closing the angles to maintain my balance. Apparently jamming my feet forward and pushing up and back isn’t the thing to do 😉 Obviously easier said than done!

Then there’s my upper body – thumbs on top and elbows in!

When I finally managed to get in more or less something approaching a reasonable position, Abbey was free to work beautifully and Sam even managed to catch it on camera!

Now I just need to do it when Sam’s not there.