It's was clear from start to finish. She was fidgety in the cross ties, snarky to all the boarders and just generally more antsy than she has been for the last few weeks. That being said, she was still WAY more manageable than what we were dealing with, so I keep trying to keep it in perspective.
|Oh Hi, I'z have electric legs and fiiiiiiiire.|
Being left has always been a struggle for us. P's ears were instantly glued to the barn and her attention was nearly impossible to get. Even with her lunge line looped through her girth to encourage a bend, she still cocked her head out and toward the barn whenever she passed by that side of the ring (grrrrrrr). I got pissy, I got demanding, and I tried to get the mare more interested in what the screaming, cranky human was doing than what was happening (or NOT happening) in the quiet barn.
It didn't really work. So we lunged. we lunged and lunged and lunged, and the mare's anxiety about being alone kept her quite 'perky' for longer than usual. We lunged and lunged and lunged. She was a rushing, floppy mess. No balance, no ability to step out instead of just faster. nothing. I was irritated.
Finally, after about 25 minutes of almost all canter, she started to slow and come back from the brink of panic. I decided I was sick of it and that getting on would be the best way to move forward and make her focus on something other than the mare who walked back to the barn forever ago...
Then she did it.
She was sticky. The witch tried to wiggle out from under me when I asked her to walk down the longside and away from the barn. (what the cuss!? BAD MARE)
So I whipped her in a circle and smacked her. (no result)
So I whipped her into a circle (again) and smacker her. (no result)
So I yelled, whipped her in a circle and smacked the CRAP out of her (we went forward).
At this point I should have moved straight into a canter and made her work, but I was knocked a little off my "high horse" and retreated a bit. Not good. Especially as the mare was all sorts of tense and fire breathing.
I tried to lower her frame (nope) and send her forward. What resulted was less of a gorgeous replication of the long, loose and swinging trot we got with supermom and more of a speeding, tearing, stress ball shooting around the ring.
We were trotting. And we were not sticking on the open sides of circles.
I think my temper got the best of me a little bit, as I felt stiff and grumpy which didn't exactly translate into any sort of encouragement for the mare to come down and work over her back, but we got through it.
By the end of the ride she was long and low and supple, but I think we got there more through exhaustion and less through constructive asking and giving.
All things considered, still better than a month ago, but not where we've been. I'm headed back out tonight and am crossing my fingers that we're past it. Otherwise I'm going to have to really think about what I'm doing that's letting this behavior sneak back in...