Hauled the big mare down south for a lesson yesterday. Again I opted to have S take the ride. I am eager to ride with our favorite trainer again, but I also seem to learn a lot from auditing S's rides and it's enjoyable to watch the mare go, especially in such a good learning situation.
Prairie was a really good girl. Whatever anxiety she had about the trailer a few months ago seems to be totally gone. Both times loading she didn't even pause on the ramp, just up and in like a seasoned pro. (I like this feature).
We swapped bits and took her in a full cheek slow twist, which is what S has been using the past week. Honestly, she doesn't seem very different in the snaffle to me. It is a bit harder to get her un-inverted (that should be a word), but she is a tad more respectful of a metal mouthpiece than the happy mouth pelham.
I guess it's interesting to know that it's sort of a Potato/Po-tah-to situation right now. I think that's a step in the right direction?
Anyway, the warm-up was uneventful. Prair stayed quiet (by Prair standards) and the most time was spent cantering a cavaletti trying to get deep and close and encourage a rounder, bouncier canter stride.
I think this is something we nail at home, but for some reason it was tricky yesterday. After several minutes in both directions S and Prair started some course work.
But before they started popping over things N had them experiment with a few different frames, and discussing the impact of each frame on Prair's way of going. They ranged from collected and fairly up in the bridle (up by hunter standards.. I'd wager it was a nice first level frame by dressage standards..) all the way to stretchy and on the buckle.
Oscillating between them was pretty fascinating and made it really easy to see when Prairie tends to brace through her back and start to evade. After a few repetitions of up, up, up and low, low, low they settling in a nice, soft (very) huntery frame and Prair's ears were flopping happily all over the place. (I think that's an exercise I will try to replicate at home..)
Anyway, they popped over a few fences, continuing to look for a slightly deep distance and striving to maintain relaxation (by way of adding circles between fences).
All in all it went well. S focused on really relaxing her aids in the last stride before the fence and Prairie responded well.
The only consistently sticky wicket was that Prair seemed hell-bent on always (always) swapping off her left lead to her right in the 4 stride. Super odd since she usually prefers her left lead? A few of the swaps were definitely an attempt to make a longer distance but I didn't like it. I hope she's not sore somewhere..
Quick clip of some of the jumps. Still a bit rushy into the corners, but the mare is starting to slow down between fences! (starting..)
All in all a great outing. We chatted logistics for the upcoming show, confirmed some logistics and go ourselves home safely in a torrential downpour. Not a bad Wednesday!