So - to Thursday! My morning started with another 8am lesson on Vingador with Frederico. It had actually been so cold that the recently watered arena was crunchy with 'almost' frost (not like the thick winter frosts at home!). Very unusual for this area, but compared to the rest of chilly Europe, not too bad!
We commenced the lesson with lots of stretching work, and some crossing of the hind legs on the circle, to get the horse really loose & stretching. From there we progressed to leg yielding to the wall, then to shoulder in. Then the exercise for half pass was to ride shoulder in up the centreline, maintain the bend and take horse across into half pass. My first few attempts were a little rusty and once again, Frederico really focussed on my position - getting me to relax my shoulders, dropping shoulders down and lifting my neck - it is amazing how much that improved my upper body position. He also placed emphasis on having my feet a little further into the stirrups, to improve my lower leg position and to have the lower leg stretched around the horse. Another enlightening moment was to look in the direction of the half pass...obvious it may seem, but when it feels like I'm already "patting my head and rubbing my tummy" - easily forgotten!
I then had a shopping trip into the centre of Cascais. The area ajoining the sea is magnificent and the beautiful cobbled stone streets, so very different to home. I found some presents for family and bought myself a watch to replace the one that broke in Dubais airport! I sampled some of the local port (I may have bought some, hehe) and sampled the famous Pastel de nata - a portuguese custard pastry with my lunch in a lovely little cafe.
In the afternoon, I had another lesson with Sarah - this time on her young Lusitano mare, Filo. To start with, we worked on getting her attention - as I have mentioned before, I have realised now I am a little too "nice" to my horses in letting them look around or look at the object they are spooking at. It was made clear to me with both trainers that the horse's concentration has to be 100% with the rider and to actually bend/turn the horse away from the direction they are looking at and then give them an exercise to do to regain focus.
Once we had that out of the way, Filo was fabulous. So comfortable to ride. We worked on my position, getting my right leg to stretch down and to soften my right elbow/wrist. We spent some time working on walk pirouettes, since they are now in Elementary tests, as well as some of the higher eventing tests I'm working toward. I found once again, by looking over my shoulder, the movement came much easier.
We then worked on half pass in both trot and canter - for me, the biggest challenge was the preparation before the movement, making sure I had the correct bend in the corner before moving into half pass.
Another lesson on Vingador Friday and a special trip to the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art :)