Once again she demanded that I drop my stirrups (damn you!) and work on staying tall and keeping my leg under me (why my inside leg wants to go halfway to Prairie's flank, I don't know). P2 was not thrilled with me wobbling about on her back, and in fact I think my terrible equitation inspired a bit of a spook, though I'm happy to say that it was well managed and I told myself she was just reacting to the stirrups crossed over my saddle and not to my wobbly body.
I don't think it was an example of our finest work, but Prairie stayed light and mostly soft and I didn't fall off.
(close enough to a win for me.)
After I was given my stirrups back S set a "simple" line of canter poles (read: two poles) down the long side on the quarter line. We've been working P2 off the rail to help with straightness and making me manage her body without relying on the arena fence. I think it's a good thing.
The poles were set 7 strides apart, which made me think that this was going to be an easy, simple exercise for the mare.
Not even remotely so.
We started on the left lead, at the scary end of the arena where Prairie was mostly focusing on me (and not on
Prairie was good, but as soon as she saw the pole everything went to crap. Head popped up, shoulders fell out, she pulled down onto her forehand, etc.
Once we cleared the pole I'd sit up (I think) half halt, and the mare would balance nicely...
Little, lovely canter... little lovely canter... little lovely canter... POLE!!!!!
So, we spent 10 minutes getting me straight and sitting on my outside seatbone, balancing the mare, and trying to pretend like there wasn't a pole on the ground (there is no spoon?). Once we mastered the (one) pole on the (nice) circle, we went for the "simple line."
Little, lovely canter... little lovely canter... little lovely canter...pole? got it.. no big deal. Little, lovely canter... little lovely canter...OMG ARE WE GOING STRAIGHT!!?!?
daaaaaammmmmnnnn (For the record the mare did the line in 4 strides, after 1.5 normal strides if that gives you an idea of how nicely she can "extend.")
So we repeated the cycle, I tried really hard to sit UP and not get pulled out of the tack, and we aimed to get 5 nice strides in the line. Eventually we got it and Prairie was so balanced and light about it that I could have done it on the buckle.
But then we changed directions and the
Back to the trot... which, since the arena was freshly dragged showed our supper awesome 4 loop serpentine as we wiggled our way down the line closer to the
Because of the
But we did it. The first few times through were... sad. But slowly P2 got more relaxed, slower and stayed a bit balanced. I won't fail to mention that this transformation seemed to coincide with me stepping into my outside stirrup, staying tall, oh and reeeeleeeaasssssing my half halts.
I am proud to say that while my outside rein really did almost rip my fingers off a few times, I did a spectacular job of not cheating and grabbing at my inside rein. Even when we were galloping off slightly uncontrolled.
So, to sum up:
I need to sit up. I need to stay to the outside. "Lengthening" our stride in the canter for First level shouldn't be an issue (but returning to a working canter might be..) and nobody got eaten or even attacked by the