It's a mixed blessing when you leave you horse for a week and come back to see them tuned up and tuned in. On one hand, progress is progress is progress is progress... but on the other there's always that twinge of d'oh! at not being the one to bring it about... But that's what we have trainers for right? To right our wrongs, to be straight when we're crooked and to interrupt patterns we unknowingly create..
I was so excited to race out to the barn after a week of no pony time, but the onset of a super gross cold kept me away Monday, and kept me grounded Tuesday too. I did get out though, and at least I groomed, and patted and smooched and got to watch S put a light ride on her.
One of the things I love so much about horses is watching them grow, learn, muscle up and figure things out. If you recall, the last couple jump schools I had on the big lady prior to leaving for LA were over the top fantastico. She was soft in the mouth, even to the jumps and there was no sign of scooting to or from the fences, even when headed home. When I think about the same ride two months ago, we were unbalanced, I was practically choking Prairie back and we had more of a "lurch" than a true "jump."
And if I think back a few months before that, we were struggling with canter departs and staying off our forehand. Walk/Canters were 50/50 and Trot/Canters were "there" but not always packaged and great.
Now, I'm shocked if she doesn't strike off quickly and balanced (from the walk or trot). We can do all our transitions on a loose rein and Prairie balances herself in the canter for endless loops around the arena. She jumps tidily (assuming the jumps are big enough), and she's learning to find her own distance to fences.
Changes are still iffy. If she's balanced and packaged she gets them, but being as big and long as she is, that's no easy task (and significantly harder for me than for S). She has figured out how to change her lead over a fence and she's pretty good at that move now. The big success is that she seems to understand the question. She knows she's supposed to change, but somethings it just doesn't quite get there.
As I was watching S and Prairie lope around yesterday I just had one of those moments where I was so proud of how far she's come and what a good flipping girl she is. She's responded well to everything we've thrown at her and seems to be eager for more. I just think the polish will come with time as she continued to strengthen her back and sit back more and more....
S's ride yesterday was light. Lots of long and low in both the trot and canter, followed by some figure eights over small crossrails with some simple changes, and a few flying. Even when Prairie lost her balance at times, S could keep a super light rein while bringing her back, which is probably the biggest change from two months ago. The freight train has slowed it's roll. And for that, I am grateful. :)
Here's a quick video of the two of them yesterday. Nothing fancy. Just happy, relaxed, cantering and a couple cross rails...
Hopefully I get back in the tack today...