I wanted S to take a ride which meant that I showed up a bit early to drag some jumps out and charged my phone so that I could get the best, crappy phone video possible (standards are low).
When I rode Prairie outside on Wednesday she was a full blown lunatic. LOOOOOONatic.
I think it might have something to do with her being in full raging, pee on everything, heat. I've never really associated a behavior change under saddle with her heats, but she used to be so much loonier all the time I wouldn't have noticed. I'm crossing my fingers that it's heat related and not that the gerbils are just beginning to wake up from some prolonged winter hibernation...
Anyway, Prairie was (again) looney as S started warming her up. She looked lovely, but I know first hand how it feels when bystanders comment how "forward and swinging she is" when all I'm thinking is "crap crap crap, hold it together, OH GOD. crap crap crap."
But she really was pretty.... see?
Anyway, as soon as S started popping over some crossrails, P2 lost her looney little brain and just wanted to run. So Run They Did.
S let go of her face and let the mare breeze (as much as one can breeze in an arena). Once Prairie figured out that her face wasn't going to be wrenched off, she settled into a (startlingly) massive stride. I'm not joking when I say at one point she took the long side down in seven strides. SEVEN. granted that was once she straightened out, but still. If I had any nails I would have bitten them all off. All of them.
I think the little gallop was good for her. She was swapping her leads (effortlessly) and moving her shoulder more than I have ever seen. Probably felt pretty great actually.
As the mare slowly came back from orbit, S began taking a contact and adding in some (large) circles. Eventually they started figure-eighting back and forth over a few fences. Prairie was much more amenable to not-bolting, and even managed to correct her own leads for the most part.
After another 20 minutes and a huge walk break S strung some course like patterns together and Prairie mostly behaved. The only screwy fence was the white gate, which she always jumps funny. She tends to over jump it and sort of launch herself to the other side. It's very similar to how she used to jump all of the time. Why she still reverts to ugly jump-launching over the gate I don't quite know.
Here's a video of how she finished:
The mare got a nice bath afterward, her legs scrubbed and hand grazed while she dried in the sun.
We made the decision to aim for a B show next weekend to see where we are. It's at the same facility where we finished up last year, so it shouldn't be scary for Prair. I think I'm going to let S take her in a division or two and I might add a flat class just for me but I'm not sure. It's less about getting "us" out and more about seeing how the mare is and how solid she is when given a closer to perfect ride than I'm capable of.
Don't hold me to it - but my focus this season is on Prairie developing confidence and having positive outings. I think that might mean S gets more rides than me, but I'm OK with that. I'd rather Prairie get supportive, productive rides than go careening around at mach 5 with me. Even if that's sorta fun too.