We had another excellent ride today! It feels like we make a little more progress each time we're out in the arena and I've been very happy with her lately. She tests me plenty, but back in the day, she would be able to get away with doing it her way, and lately she's being asked to do it my way. She always wants to double check that I'm sure I want her to do it my way, and when the answer is yes, she complies. About half way through our ride she checks again and gets the same answer, but if she didn't ask, it wouldn't be Lilly. She hasn't quite given up control yet.
She's been responding really well to a scratch on the neck when she does something good. Normally I praise with a "good girl!" along with as much of a release as I can give, and maybe it's all in my head, but she seems to "get it" more quickly when she gets that little scratch. She got the scratch on Thursday when she stayed soft through her transitions and they were excellent today. They were so good, in fact, that I practiced just letting her step into the transition without holding her to keep her soft. She stayed soft, but she made sure she was loping in a hurry.
To combat the speed, I kept her slow for a few strides and then let the reins out to see if she'd speed back up. I want to give her the opportunity to figure out what I'm asking for without me holding her in a specific way. The majority of the time she sped right back up, so I slowed her back down. The few times she stayed nice and slow on her own I reached down and gave her a little scratch. By the time we were done with our ride, I had some really nice periods in the lope where she was soft and slow... it was really pretty!!
I rode with a friend of mine at the barn and she was done with her horse quite a bit sooner than I was, so she decided to take her horse back to the barn so I didn't have to wait for the wash stall. They left the arena and Lilly didn't even give them a second thought.
She was such a good girl!
In other news, I recently purchased my very own video camera. I can't believe I didn't already own one, considering what a geek I am. I guess I thought my iPhone would work in a pinch, but it's just not the same. I found a steal online and I couldn't pass it up, so once I actually have time to play around with it, I'll be taking some videos! Maybe I can even take some at the show this weekend. :)