I rode Lilly on Sunday and Monday and she was wonderful. She was especially good considering the amount of work she's had in the past two months. I really wish I could have ridden her at the show on Saturday...
I think we're starting to understand each other. I've noticed a lot of progress with her speed and her ability to travel sanely around the ring on a loose rein. Both days she did that very well. She's learned that if she stays calm and maintains a manageable pace, she gets to have her head. I've learned that she CAN jog around the ring on a loose rein and behave herself. So I give, and as long as she doesn't take advantage of it, we jog happily around the ring on a loose rein. I'll ask her to level out her head, and when she does without speeding up, we look darn good!
She has also made huge progress with transitions. She's learned that "tap, tap" with my outside leg means trot. She's learned not to leap forward and go as fast as she can. She still puts her head up and often pins her ears a bit during the transition (not sure what that's about either) but then within two strides or so, so jogs off at a reasonable pace.
Her canter departures are what surprised me the most, though. I'm still working the transition from a jog, so I do a sitting trot when I want to canter, make sure I stay sitting up, move my outside leg back, and squeeze. Within about two strides she's cantering. She has picked up the correct lead every time as well, so hopefully all that chiropractic work has helped. I'm still cantering her in two-point, though, to stay up off her back. I think it is really helping her learn to balance and she's able to slow down a bit. We did many passes around the ring on a loose rein cantering!
I'm so proud of her! She's the type of horse that tries really hard. She's very smart and really wants to please. The challenge has been getting her to understand what I want, and I think now that she realizes I want her to slow down, her progress will just continue to improve over the next couple of weeks. She's pretty out of shape right now, so I can't canter a lot (about 3 times around the ring and she's done) but as she gets back into shape, I'll be able to work her for longer periods of time and see how she does.
I'm thinking that at the JCHSS show in October we might be able to enter a canter class or two. Last time I said that my plans were derailed, so I hope I didn't just jinx myself.