After our playdate on Wednesday, I resolved to actually hack the mare on Thursday and get to busy. So, after a nice (calm) lunge, I hopped on and went for broke.
Pia was predictably "forward" but mostly gracious about getting back to work. Or rather, she was as gracious as a mare in heat being worked for the first time in a week is on a crisp clear day. So that is to say that she was spirited, but agreeable.
I attempted to start 'long and low' but accepted 'forward and stiff' until we were able to work into a nice, round medium trot. It wasn't what I was going for, but I've yet to feel Pia that over her back, and that balanced in a bigger trot over a sustained period.
So, I ended up being the gracious one and decided to sit up, stick my leg on and support her into it.
We popped into the canter a few times, worked some transitions and baby leg yields before I called it quits for our first day back.
On the relative 'pia scale' it was a great ride. She never totally relaxed, and maintained that powder-keg between your legs feel for all 45 minutes, but I could hardly blame her.
Friday we REALLY went back to work in our lesson and focused on stringing movements together. Partially to start to move forward in our fluidity and partially to keep the mare's mind busy.
For the most part we had some great moments...
But then there was the canter.
Pia's canter remains elusive for me. Either it's unbalanced and strung out, it's missing entirely, or it's perfectly collected and lovely.... That is, its perfectly lovely right before she has a bucking fit.
Lucky for me, on Friday it wasn't missing... And it was unfortunately balanced. I say that because we managed great, quick transitions, then several strides of lovely, balanced canter RIGHT before she launched on her well rehearsed bucking bronco routine. (bitch).
Literally, BO's comments sounded something like this:
BO: half halt, think shoulder fore, aaaaand canter
BO: great, hold her with your outside leg, soften with the inside rein... Balance.. Good, GOOD
(pia sits back and pushes)
BO: perfect! That's your canter
BO: and start your shallow loop.. HXK..
BO: sit baaaaaCk!!!!!
Yeah, yeah. Great. Good. I tried my canter loops five (5, five) times. Every time, just as we got an excellent canter, she exploded.
Basically P has conditioned me that a strung-out, crappy canter is safe and good, while a lovely, balanced canter equals death and destruction.
I'm talking big time bucks. Like, caught my reflection in the mirror and her rear hooves were waay higher than my head sort of bucks. (I'm pretty sure that the only reason I stayed on was because I summoned my inner eventer and slipped my reins, threw one arm behind my head and leaned back like we were taking the big drop into the Head of the Lake with a throng of spectators watching. For reals, if I had a good still of that buck, we could Photoshop the crap out of it and look like we were some serious contenders...)
Naughty mare. but anyway...
But we ended well and basically rode the second test in first level, which I'm considering progress.
I'll post tomorrow on how Pia made out this Christmas... I hope she likes her gifts more than the frenchie did... Maisy was thoroughly unimpressed with her haul:
Her new sock monkey was just as boring...
She's so high maintenance....
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