Unfortunately, this is about all I could get.
It's probably just as well because Lilly decided to be a challenge today. She was a bit spooky when I rode her on Monday too, but today she was just being ridiculous. When I was messing with the camera and taking way too many worthless pictures, she jumped every time the camera took a picture. I ended up taking even more worthless pictures so I could deal with her acting silly.
She also had her eye on something across the field and kept blowing every time we got to that end of the arena. In an effort to control her mind by controlling her feet, we engaged in some serious footwork. Side-passing, circling, stopping, trotting, backing, and I finally had her attention. She didn't completely ignore the spookies in the field, but at least she was paying attention to me when we passed by them.
A couple new things for us... the first one is a new bit. I love the french link snaffle I have for Lilly and I thought she loved it too. It might be that she loves it a bit too much, though, so I've switched her back to the plain old d-ring snaffle. She chews a lot less now and is a lot more responsive to a bunch of different things. We think maybe the french link had too many moving parts and it was just too much for an already sensitive horse like Lilly.
The second one is spurs. SPURS! I can't believe I'm actually riding my horse in spurs, and I'm even more surprised that I still have a pair! I'm not using them for go, that cue still comes from my lower leg, but I'm using them to keep her straight. With all this stopping and backing we've been doing, she has a tendency to swing her butt to the inside. Rather than having to use a LOT of leg to move her back over, I just touch her with the spur and the process moves along much more efficiently.
After we got past the spookiness issues, she was really good. I think I smiled more today than I have in a long time! She rushed a few canter transitions because she's starting to figure out the new prep work before the cue and decides she's ready to go. When she started to canter before I was ready, I stopped her, backed her, trotted her, and then asked again. The cantering that followed was heavenly!
So as a little side note here... back when I was taking Dressage lessons, my trainer commented that "before you know it, all you'll have to do is think canter and Lilly will canter." Her comments made it sound like that was a good thing and it was something to work towards. So with such a sensitive, tuned in horse who obviously feels every move I make with my body, how important is the actual cue? Should I make her wait for me to slide my outside leg back and squeeze, or are the upper body movements I use to prep her good enough for the cue?
Back to cantering... heavenly! It's obviously because of the exercises I've been doing with her, but I'm wondering if it's because she's building up the muscles she needs to canter nicely, or if she's really hunting the whoa. Today she cantered around the arena twice before I felt her start falling apart. She cantered around as if she's been doing it for years and it was effortless. She was even able to maintain her speed in the corners, which is where she usually speeds up and drops her inside shoulder.
So here's my other question. Since I'm technically still rehabbing her to an extent, and since she's still fairly out of shape, and since I'm such a wimp and immediately want to rub the hell out of her and take her into the barn for being such a good girl, how long should I canter her for? Until she starts to fall apart, or try to stop her before she falls apart? Or try to put her back together and canter her a bit more? I just want to make sure she's using the right muscles and I'm concerned if I canter her too much, she'll start using the wrong muscles to try and hold herself together. I've been looking over my book and it'll say, "work up to 15 minutes or more of xyz..." but I'm not sure I know how when it's okay to increase the amount of time.
I've been working on the jog too, and I'm really having fun seeing how slow I can get her to go. I don't anticipate ever having a problem getting her to go faster, so working on getting her slower is really cool. We've had some very nice pitter-patter jogs.
|I was a good girl today!|