The arena wasn't much better today than it was yesterday. Actually, it was probably a little worse because it's finally drying and that means things are getting hard. With her bare hooves and no boots, Lilly really needs something soft to work on, and unless the arena is dragged often, it packs really quick.
So as I do almost every time I ride, I picked out the best path to ride and we got to work. She was really good and we had a great ride, but I noticed she was opening her mouth quite a bit today. I'm not sure what to make of it, but I might have to invest in one more bit... maybe something with a small port. I have a spoon bit at home, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't like that one. Maybe it's worth a try just to see, though.
We worked on quite a bit of jogging today because I wanted to pretend we were showing. I rode her around with one hand and we jogged around a bunch of cones to practice staying slow even when we're on a pattern. She tends to speed up when we're going through obstacles. Before moving on to the lope, we hit the jump a couple times. She always jumps it the first time, but all attempts after that end up being just a giant step over the jump. One of these days I'll take a tape measure out with me and figure out where 18 inches is. The JCHSS shows include a hunter hack class and if I can manage to finish my showmanship class and get ready in time, we're going to try it at the next show.
Our lope going counter clockwise was pretty awesome today. She hit all her leads and was keeping herself nice and round. She's doing a great job of keeping her head down when we transition and I gave her a bunch of "good girl" scratches.
Our lope going clockwise wasn't nearly as nice, but that's her bad way and she makes me work hard to keep her inside shoulder up. She has a tendency to counter bend, and often ends up picking up the wrong lead. She still did quite well, was staying soft, and I could tell she was trying.
She did so well going to the left, that I decided to work on some lope-stop-back exercises next. I want to try and get her in the habit of anticipating the stop at the lope to get her to slow down a bit. It worked so well with her jog, that I can't wait to see how well it works with the lope. She was excellent about not anticipating the lope after the back and because she works totally off my seat, I was able to ride her for quite some time without even touching her mouth. It took us about 3 good trips around the arena doing the exercise before things starting to click with her. I could feel her get a little bit "shorter" after each exercise and I knew she was keeping herself nice and collected, waiting for the stop cue.
The lope-stop-back exercises to the right took a little bit more work and required a few more exercises before she started getting the hang of things. She got most of her leads as long as I kept her straight and I was really impressed with the fact that she didn't anticipate... after a number of exercises she just walked off like it was nothing. I love seeing all this progress!
I still can't decide what to do about moving barns. There are reasons to stay and reasons to go, and I have a fear of the unknown, considering how things turned out last time I moved into a situation I thought was going to be great. I don't know if I should leave well enough alone and just deal with things at my current place, or take a leap of faith and hope all goes well. I just can't get the indoor arena out of my head... and did I mention that there are quite a few boarders at this new barn who show the same circuits I do? It would be a lot of fun to have people to go show with. That's something I really miss.