I haven't posted about an actual ride in quite a while. Granted, we haven't been doing a whole lot of riding because of the heat, but I haven't had the saddle on Lilly's back since June 15th when she started showing discomfort again. When I do ride, we just kind of play around inside the round pen bareback with only a rope halter. I've pretty much given up on the 2011 show season so I don't see any reason to work her hard ahead of pulling her shoes.
She's actually doing quite well in the rope halter. I only have one rein (the lead rope attached to the halter) so it gets tricky steering and communicating, but that's half the fun. I have to use my body to communicate rather than relying on the reins. I know it helps being in the round pen because she can only go so fast, but she's really learning how to get soft in the halter and I'm sure that's going to translate interestingly when we do put the bridle back on.
I've been working on getting her to allow me to get on from the gate. I sit up on the gate and ask her to come up really close and stop without swinging her hip to the inside of the pen. She is really good when it comes to the mounting block, but the gate thing is a bit perplexing for her. She would prefer to stand with her face in my lap and just enjoy each other's company. :)
I've been doing the same thing when I get off... park close to the gate so I can step off and use the gate to climb down, but she refuses to get close enough to make it easy for me to dismount. I can ask her to sidepass all day long and she complies, but she lets me know when she thinks we're close enough to the gate. That's what we worked on mostly today and I finally got her to get really close and stop. That's when I got off and we went back to the barn.
I've been doing quite a bit of cantering bareback and I can finally say I'm getting better. I think Lilly is getting better too and that works in my favor as well. Her transitions are beautiful (even though I know I look like crap up there asking for them) and she just steps right into the canter without fuss. I still ask for the canter from the trot, but it makes things easier for both of us until I've got a better bareback seat. She rates her speed pretty well and doesn't do a lot of speeding up and slowing down, which is always helpful, and she's been a good babysitter by slowing, stopping, or moving to the inside if I start to get unstable up there. Today felt really good and we did quite a bit more cantering than we usually do. :)
In other news, I made an appointment with Cat for September 8th to pull Lilly's shoes (yay!!). The fourth trimmer will still come out on August 13th to give me her opinion, but she's too far for me to use as a regular trimmer, especially if we're doing 2 week trims to start. Lilly's shoes will be at about 8 weeks by then, so hopefully they stay on and there will be some hoof there for Cat to work with. I'll also be done with all my August vacations and can dedicate whatever time and attention Lilly needs during her transition. I haven't told my current farrier yet, but I'm working on my speech and it's almost done.