P was no exception and since aside from the nice day, it was probably the first ride she's had in daylight hours in weeks, I was anticipating a bit of a debacle. Since she's such a demon about being left in the arena alone I was excited to see that a few other folks were riding when I got there, which meant that Miss P would have to practice continuing to work, even when *gasp* left alone. She warmed up easy on the lunge, so I only worked her in circles for about 10 minutes (5 on each side), before getting on. She stood nicely at the mounting block, and even sat still while I snapped my vest into my tether and got all settled.
What I did not enjoy was her full on BALK at being asked to trot. It felt like back to square one with the trot transition, and while I got after her, I probably should have immediately cantered off, or done a million more walk to trot transitions to get my point across. Instead, I just got her to trot and moved on from there. I need to get over my need to minimize my "beatings" when other folks are in the ring. I guess its kinda how a lot of moms don't fully get after their kids when they are out in public.. but I'm much meeker/quieter about addressing the mare's... issues, when being watched. I know my fellow boarders don't judge me and I also know that I'm not getting extra points for quiet riding, so I'm not sure what my hangup is.
Regardless, mare started trotting and we didn't have any other sticky issues.
This was the first time that P has felt like a total powder keg since Supermom issued her butt kicking in December, so that was interesting and it resulted in one of two things during our ride
- a stiff, awful trot that felt as though bucks could squirt out at any moment.
2. a floaty, forward trot with a surprising amount of balance and swing through Pia's back.
Fortunately, after some forward canter work, we settled into 80% awesome trot, and 20% holy-crap-what's-this-mare-going-to-do trot. Given the weather, giant other horse bucking through his lesson on flying changes (god he's cute) and some blustery wind, I accepted this 80/20 ratio and went to work.
P was pretty soft both directions (the weird stiffness to the left was gone) and her right hind seemed to be swinging loose and stepping under more easily. I'm 90% certain the "weirdness" I felt last week on the right hind was Pia attempting to use it and actually bend through her ribcage and not some horrible injury. Even with my good gut feeling, I'll certainly be asking some questions at our next Rolf($$$) session on Friday.
For our ride, I focused on getting the mare's frame lower (something she was not particularly interested in) and maintaining the same frame for all of our work. This included some lengthenings, spiral circles, figure eights, canter work, baby leg yield (from the 1/8th line...) and halt/trot transitions.
The only downside aside from a brief meltdown when the last horse aside from her princess-self left the ring, and the initial balk at the trot, was the mare's FIRST MINI BUCK since our come-to-jesus understanding that I thought we had.
It wasn't big, and she got immediately corrected for it, but the mare thought that it was ok/allowed/somehow appropriate for her to cowkick/hop when I pushed her into the corner early in our work.
Hopefully that doesn't carry over into our work today. Grrr.
After our ride I pulled her tack and let the mare dry her sweat off in the sunshine while she nibbled at the first shoots of grass peeking through the blanket of moss that takes over most lawns around here in the winter.
|happy mare hunting for grass...|
Happy President's Day!