I always ride Nimo during Gemma's lessons. It's the one day I can count on riding, because no matter how tired or unmotivated I am, knowing that she's riding helps me get myself together.
Usually when Nimo has had that much time off, he requires 2-3 rides to sort of get back in the swing of things, so to speak. Today, though, it felt almost like my lesson had been a few days ago instead of 10. He was quick to warm up and we went straight into the canter exercise my instructor had been working with me on.
I think I mentioned that we had tried it before, but it hadn't really done much for us. And, honestly, I've sort of resigned myself to the idea that cantering is just not something Nimo is going to be able to do a lot of. It's OK. We can still have a lot of fun.
But I know my instructor will be asking me how it went at my next lesson, and I at least wanted to be able to let her know that I'd worked on it. As it turned out, Nimo did really well, at least cantering on the right lead. During my lesson, my instructor had said that once we do it enough, cantering will become really easy and it will never be an issue again. I didn't believe her. Well, after tonight, I might have to reconsider.
We did maybe four cycles of walk across the short side, turn down the quarterline, half pirouette to the outside, canter, walk, half pirouette to the outside, canter, walk, etc. Nimo was still struggling with the left lead, but the right lead went well after the first couple of cycles. And after that, I was able to ask him to canter all over the arena. He couldn't hold himself together for long, but it was much better than the 2-3 strides I normally get.
I was so excited that I celebrated by working on "jumping" a little. And by jumping, I mean the same kind of jumping my daughter is doing in her lessons. The arena is set up with several jumps, and the flower boxes (which are maybe 6" high) are the jumps. Nimo likes to watch whatever pony Gemma is riding do the jumps first, and then he goes through them the same way. So, essentially, Nimo and I are jumping at the level of a 7-year old child:) :) :) But at least he's picking his feet up?
Here's a little video of us going over the jumps from my perspective:
And here's a picture of my daughter riding a horse that is new to her. I was so proud of her, because he's much bigger than the pony she normally rides, and she was confident and had no issues riding him all over the big arena. She's also started learning jump patterns, or courses. I'm not sure of the proper term, but I think she did a pattern with five jumps tonight.
Given how hectic the past few weeks have been, it was really nice to have a good ride on Nimo and watch Gemma be successful. Plus, we were home by 6 pm, and I have FREE TIME for the first time in days and days. Life is good!:)