Clinic report from SAFE volunteer rider Erika:

This clinic was not the first time I’ve worked with Lacey, but it was the first time I’ve spent so much time working with her.

The first day, Friday, we really worked hard to get to a soft feel, and we got to where she can hold it for a couple of strides. Part of learning the soft feel with Lacey is learning how to have her respond to my legs and my seat, so that she continues to move forward. That was definitely the most challenging piece of the puzzle for me. To add to that, I have a tendency to lean on my hands a lot, which Lacey does not respond well to. With Lacey, once she gives a soft feel, I have to remember to give her her head immediately, or she’ll start to pull on the bit and be less collected in the hind.

Saturday, we worked more on the soft feel and my seat and leg cues. She felt more forward as we progressed, and we held the soft feel for a few more strides than Friday. I worked that day to make my leg cues sharper. Another thing that Lacey does not respond well to is unclear cues, so I tried to make my leg movements crisp and clear for her. She responded positively, and we did better with turning a circle on a loose rein that day. As I was improving my leg and seat cues, Lacey was better at moving out, as well as slowing, stopping, and backing.

Sunday we worked even more on those puzzle pieces: soft feel, not leaning on my hands, and clear leg and seat cues. We got to where Lacey was more collected all over, and would hold the soft feel a little longer, and we even got to the lope (with a good expression on her face!) Sunday really felt like the culmination of the whole weekend, and was my favorite day. Lacey worked hard all weekend, and I’m really excited to start working with Lacey regularly.