I went to the barn Friday and had a really nice ride on Lilly. Alex was coming out on Saturday so I didn't want to work her too hard... we just had a nice ride together. She was fantastic, and I've noticed a difference in her since I started using that gel half pad. I think it gives just enough padding on her back to make the saddle a bit more comfortable for her.
Saturday was gorgeous... 70 degrees and sunny! We're having some unseasonably warm weather, and I am not complaining. I had given up on the idea of clipping Lilly for the winter, but if it keeps this up, I might end up having her clipped.
So as I mentioned, Alex came out to visit on Saturday. I love having her come out because I get so much out of each visit... if she didn't live so far away I'd beg her to come out more often. She has at least 150 different bits to choose from (right, Alex?), a variety of headstalls and reins to use, and a western saddle that fits Lilly like a dream!
I've been wanting to outfit Lilly in a "big girl bit" so she can start learning how to be a western horse in something other than a d-ring snaffle. We have to show in something with shanks, so Alex brought some bits she thought would work and we selected what we thought would be the best bit for Lilly. I couldn't find the exact bit online, but it looks something like this:
|Billy Allen mouth bit...|
Alex rode Lilly first so I could watch how she worked Lilly and handled the new bit. I was also anxious to "show off" how much progress we have made since the last time she was out. I think she was pretty impressed with how much more relaxed Lilly is and how she really stays with her rider now. The progress is just huge and I owe it all to Alex and her now infamous "trot-stop-back-trot" exercises. For the kind of mind that Lilly has, those exercises are gold!
Then it was my turn!
|Let's do this!|
|Whose horse is this, anyway?|
|La-de-da... this is fun!|
|Speeding it up...|
|Slowing it down...|
After gathering my composure, we decided to move on and work Lilly at the canter. Alex hopped on and I told her about the progress we've made with our transitions, but that we really don't canter a whole lot. I've been cantering her enough to work on transitions and leads, but for a variety of reasons, I just don't work her much at the canter. It definitely needs a lot of work...
She does well enough at the canter to appease me and I don't worry about cantering at horse shows, but Lilly does not have a nice canter. Her canter is essentially what her trot used to be. Alex describes it as "running away"... Lilly isn't cantering with me, she's cantering to get away from me. We aren't together. Lilly is cantering and I'm sitting there on her back.
Alex decided that from now on, we canter circles at the end of the arena. All I'm supposed to do is keep her on the circle. She can carry her head however she pleases and she can go as fast as the circle will allow, but we need to canter, canter, canter.
I hopped on and gave it a try...
|Still cantering... remember to breathe!|
|A happy me and a sleepy Lilly!|