It was lovely to see Fina and Sheila's Camargue mare, Lucie, so settled together. Ali rode Fina in the rope headcollar for the first time in ages and needed a lesson from Sheila on how to do it properly first....
She needs to stop being so quick to reach for the reins and to think about using her bodyweight, seat and position to influence Fina more. Take away the bridle and the gaps in her "traditional" lessons at pony club start to emerge. With no bridle or bit, Ali needed to come up with other ways to hold Fina's attention and ask her to do what Ali asked rather than just going with her own ideas such as getting her head down for grass or going out the gate back to Lucie.
Sheila is an excellent teacher, very calm and considered. Ali of course responds better to other teachers than her annoying old mother. But being Ali, she is often away with the fairies, and this lack of intent is of course picked up by the pony and results in hesitancy, as you can see from this video clip:
Once Ali decided to pop her over a little jump and therefore had a clear aim in mind, things went a lot better (although being Fina, she ran out at first and Ali had to rethink her strategy, which she did admirably)
We need to do the same with Sky at home I think, as well as more groundwork, something else that doesn't feature much in lessons at the club.
The next morning we went for a lovely walk in the woods, Sheila has some excellent hacking round and about. I got to lead Lucie some of the time and it was really interesting dealing with an unknown horse who spent a fair amount of time testing me to see what she could get away with and whether I was up to the job of being in charge!
Ali went off for the odd hooley or two and found a handy fallen tree to jump and thoroughly enjoyed herself :-)
More about that on Sheila's blog here