1) Hitch Hikers Thumb - turns out that while I'm am oddly aware of my body, I also have WILDLY distorted notions of what is neutral and good. If I think that I have my thumbs pointed out sideways like a hitchhiker, odds are they are approaching vertical with a nice straight wrist (not turned down and curling in like a kitty's paws when they nap).
2) Waltzing - One of the unintended consequences of growing up with my grandmother is that she was adamant that no granddaughter of hers would grow up without the appropriate (read: waay too much) education on the world of etiquette (can you identify the difference between a cucumber and a tomato serving piece?), classical dance and general social graces. Long story short I can Viennese Waltz my tooshie off (given a strong partner) and look decent doing it. Why am I rambling about this? Well the exaggerated, laid out position of a lady during this dance seems to be what I need to picture in order to unfurl my spine into something tall and (almost) straight when I'm up on m horse.
Once again, if I *think* I'm doing this:
Anyway, brilliant imagery right? It's a wonder I haven't become the next Sally Swift...
So, there I was, thumbs "out," back tall and arched back like I'm at some officer's ball, and by golly I was actually supporting my horse a bit.
Prairie was much more accepting of the bit this ride, and had even less head tossing/flipping than on Sunday, which seems to show me that this whole "Inside Rein Free Zone" thing is really helping her want to stay in the contact.
Of course our momentarily brilliance made it that much harder for me to stay true to the plan when she did pop off the contact and tune me out a bit. It's SO PRETTY when it's good, that it's hard for me to stay balanced and correct when I know that snagging that inside rein just-the-teensiest-bit would keep her together and steady.
I know that (someday soon) I'll be able to use my inside rein for support like that again, but for now I need to totally erase it from my mind and let Prairie trust that I won't catch her in the mouth with it as a defensive move on my part.
If this week is any indication I'm pretty sure that we are headed in a good direction.
I'm so thankful that she's slow and patient enough to let me fumble through this stuff without holding it against me. I'm definitely remembering how to be a better rider and actually enjoying the process.