So remember I gave Jeremy a lesson on Q a month or so back and he fell off three times? Remember how he was a really good sport about things and just bounced back on?
He had lesson two on Sunday.
This is where we ended up.
He started the day bareback in the inside ring. He and Q learned to communicate and turn and maneuver all over. I was present but not in the ring. I coached him on things to work on and left him to it.
He even worked up some courage despite some (well-established from last time) anxiety about trotting and trotted her bareback! He stayed on and did great.
I then gave him the option of a saddle if he'd like it. He did and wanted to try a western saddle. The first option, a light synthetic one was too small for him. So he used one of the 30+ lb saddles instead. He did great. Better than great.
He took all of my suggestions to heart and worked on his walk-halt, walk-trot, and various other transitions with Q. So not only were they doing small circles and reversing to keep her mind on his direction, but she was having to stop, walk, trot, and back up randomly.
I was tooling around with my hippogriff[in] throughout all of this and decided to head to the outside ring. Its a little bigger. I figured I could ride on the inside and Jeremy and Q on the outside since they were working at a faster gait and would enjoy the bigger circle.
Jeremy rode Q from the barn to the ring. Quite the step up now that there was no confined ring. They even trotted!
Once we reached the ring, Jeremy worked on keeping Q in a sustained trot for at least a whole lap of the ring. He was looking great and Q was really responding well. (I had the foresight to put her in a side-pull halter so that any messy hands wouldn't upset her. She was in a GREAT mood as a result. Yay!)
I posed this question, "You two are working really well together. So here's a question for you, and you can refuse. I just want you to be comfortable. Do you want to try cantering again? I know it was problematic last time, but y'all are looking great today, you're in here and not on the lunge, you've got that saddle, and you're doing really well."
He accepted. I jumped on Q to tune her up so that she'd better know that when he got back on he was going to be requesting the canter, too. It also served for me to better explain to Jeremy how to put her into the canter, ride the canter, and keep her in the canter.
I turned her back over to him and they did great! He successfully cantered both directions for a lap or two. He didn't sit it absolutely perfectly, but I think part of that may be due in part to the stirrups being too short. (I hadn't adjusted them because I didn't anticipate him riding quite like that and they're a bitch to adjust.)
I praised both Q and Jeremy for such a job well-done. It was a very superior effort on both ends. He was calm and patient with her. She took care of him. A lot of trust and respect. Very proud of both of them - Jeremy especially.
He told me afterward that he was really happy he'd started bareback that day. He said it really helped him figure out his balance so when he was in the saddle everything went more smoothly. He's got to work on not hunching his shoulders, but that may be easier if I lower the stirrups to a better length. All things considered though, he did a very good job.
Now I hope I can get him comfortable enough on her to so that he can ride her with me on the trails while I ride another horse. His weight + the western saddle would be amazing weight training for Q prior to our rides!