As promised, we headed to Parkview for our 2nd lesson. This time, Girly showed the trainer what I'd meant by- "she's usually really good". Laura gave me some nice new shiny tools to get her focusing and relaxed, and a cool new steering technique- "with my stirrups". As soon as she explained it- put your weight into the stirrup you want her to head toward, and even push her over if she's not getting the message, a light clicked on in my head. You know those moments where you want to take your leg off and kick yourself with it? Yeah, this was one of them. Sounds kind of like teaching lateral direction, huh? Just way more blunt.
PS. We learned all these things because parkview is crazy. Let me paint you a picture. 10 acres- maybe more?- with 50+ horses stacked here there and everywhere, tractors, workers, riders w/ and without horses who may or may not be working/acting up/washing/etc., cars, SUVs, trailers, mounds of manure/shavings, feed silos... Needless to say, it's more similar to a racetrack than the backyard barn Sherwood lives at. And she react accordingly- out comes the high headed stomping-pawing-spinning horse everyone loves to meet. BUT. This time, although she started that way, we worked outside, lunged, she came back to me a bit more focused, and laura and I decided to work outside. Picture all of that, but at least we're not trapped in an indoor with little kids on ponies. Literally.
And this mare was... golden. Once Laura showed me my new refocusing techniques- change the bend right left right left- Sherwood relaxed and floated. By the end, we had worked both directions W/T/C and Laura was telling me how impressed she was with me and my mare. "It's not everyone who can make a green horse look good, and this girl looks like a million bucks when she's with you. Great job."
Overall, an actually useful lesson, and one I can't wait to apply later this week!