Donna was our instructor this week, and she let me choose my horse first. I scanned the line of horses on the rail, and couldn’t decide. I went with a horse I really liked riding, Jupiter. I got on and walked into the arena to warm up. The arena was empty, so we took advantage of the privilege to use the entire arena to ride. I warmed up Jupiter, walking and jogging him each direction in the arena.
The next thing we did was work on jogging without stirrups. I dropped my stirrups while trotting, and I sat his western jog. We did a few round counterclockwise, before changing directions at the jog. Then we gathered in the center of our side of the arena. Donna told us we would play our own version of red-light-green-light. Riding around the whole arena without stirrups, we would have to follow Donna’s instructions: red light meant halt, green light meant walk, yellow light meant sitting trot, orange light meant posting trot, and purple meant lope. We spread out around the arena, when Donna yelled out commands. We did some walking, jogging (sitting), and halting, and we also did some posting trot.
After this exercise, we loped using the full arena. We trotted down the long end of the arena, and then loped back to the end of the line. On my turn, I trotted Jupiter down, keeping him from running off. I asked him to lope once I turned on the short end and rode his choppy lope, trying to control his speed while scooping in the saddle. Everybody finished loping in this direction, so we turned around. Loping with Jupiter turned out the same as the first time, except Jupiter threw a small buck on the way back, which I did not expect. He hadn’t bucked during our lesson at all before, or at least not in a while. Who knew he would buck?
The class did what Donna calls scramble after, where we could go anywhere in any direction, as long as we didn’t follow anybody and we stayed at a trot. We cooled down and dismounted on the off side. We walked our horses up to the arena to finish off our lesson.