Yesterday my barn next-door-neighbor Amanda and I ended up at the stable at the same time when no one else happened to be riding, so we decided to block off the non-scary half of the arena and to work on our new-found one rein Parelli skills. And since Amanda's sister (also named Sara) was there, she was kind enough to take loads of photos and videos :D
What follows is pretty embarrassing as far as posture, seat and control of my horse goes - it's funny how when riding as soon as you have to start focussing on something new or different, everything you thought you had under control goes right out the window. And for the first 15 minutes or so just getting Starbuck not to stop to eat the grass growing around the edges of the arena was a losing battle. But we eventually got on the same page, especially after I remembered to look where I was going rather than at her, and before we knew it we were doing serpentines and figure eights and even a few mostly straight lines! We ended with the thrill of a better connection and some nice cantering which was only punctuated once by a few bucks which I was able to stop short with a one-rein stop (yay me!).
It's not lost on me that when I'm riding her like this, we're effectively practicing her being able to say "No" whenever she wants to, and so I've got to be careful not to do it too often. But I do feel like when she finally says "Yes" it means much more than when I'm riding her with a hackamore or a bit, and I know it will eventually do wonders for my riding position (the center of gravity is much farther back), leg and seat aids and for my dependence on the reins for balance, so until I see any nasty consequences I'm looking forward to riding her like this once every week or two. In the meanwhile, enjoy the photos and video - at the very least they'll be great for "before and after" comparisons ;-P