I definitely have the privilege (and sometime curse) of traveling more than the average bear, but I find that often I have the most clarifying internal conversations when I'm settled into my favorite seat (15F if I'm flying commercial, right seat of the cockpit if I'm with dad..). Maybe it's the hum of the engines, or the fact that I'm often flipping through a crappy tabloid (an indulgence when I fly) or the fact that I'm oddly paranoid about draining my phone battery so I deprive myself of my usual music and games as distractions... Whatever the reason, my brain always settles into a happy thoughtful mulling session. So today's flight finds me continuing my analysis of miss p.
Last night we had another lesson which was what the BO calls. 'love ride' - where the only goal is to get the mare on our side and happy.
We got off to a good start, p was quiet in the crossties and calm on the lunge. Unlike Wednesday, her ears were soft and she kept one on me about 70% of the time which is pretty much as good as it gets. Pia even respected the circle and stayed wide the whole time, happily maintaining a round circle and happily listening to my verbal half halts. We worked for about 15 minutes, without any tension start to finish. All of her transitions were calm and prompt, no fussing, no bucking, no yelling or yanking required.
Needless to say, I got on feeling fairly optimistic about our ride. P walked off nicely and worked well between my aids during our walking. Her soft ears stayed with us and her tempo was much slower and more relaxed than the last few days.
But all those good signs stopped there and failed to follow us into the trot. As soon as i asked for the trot we got the same stinky resistance that was in the video. Same chest-biting-sideways-flying evasion...
Which is when we tried a new trick - instead of me whacking her with the whip and continuing my kicks, after two nice asks for the trot, I popped off, hit the ground and smacked her across the butt. Then I hopped back on, got our walk and would ask for the trot.
Pia being a clever girl, moved right up into the trot without a fuss. (good mare). We kept working our walk/trot transitions to solidify the moral of the story and I only had to pop off twice more to reinforce my 'requests' before p stopped the crap all together and stayed forward.
It's not a long term solution (I don't want her fearful of me dismounting), but it was exceptionally effective yesterday.
The rest of our ride was easy.. canter, leg yields, shoulder in and some centerline halts. P was pretty good, not great, but much more relaxed than Wednesday and she was willing to engage her hind end a bit. (that tight shuffley trot is what she used to alllllways look like before the wobblers diagnosis and vitamin e..).
I have to take some of the blame as I was riding really timidly and stiffly somewhat from a place of reduced confidence. It's an unusual feeling for me, and one that I hope goes away soon :)
All in all a decent ride. We forgot to bute her, so I'm eliminating a low grade pain or soreness as a primary factor in her disobedience for now. I'm thinking its more mental stress, which was probably helped by her hard workout Wednesday, spending the night outside, and hopefully an increased effect once she's on a lowered food schedule for a bit.
We shall see. As my own hormones chill out for the month I'm feeling less pressured and anxious about solving this current puzzle.
And as our wheels touch down in the desert, I'm feeling pretty damn good about the next two days of relaxing, reading and dancing my butt off with good old friends from far and wide.
Forgive the choppiness... I'm attempting a post from the phone again.. Happy Fridays!!
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