It humbles me that I have 76 people who follow along with all the crazy stuff I type about myself and my horse. When I started this blog I never dreamed I would have so many followers, and I appreciate every single one of you!
You're probably going to get tired of reading "she was so good today!", but I write this blog just as much for me as I do for all of you and I love typing "she was so good again today!" (Because that means she was good!) So hopefully I don't lose a bunch of you with my boring babbling about what an awesome horse I am privileged to own. :)
Ummm, so that being said, she was so good today!
Okay, our ride didn't start out so well, but by the time we were finished I was praising her like crazy! Oh, and I rode in a tank top today, so the weather is just the icing on the cake.
I rode in the new bit (I'll call it the tom thumb, bleh...) and she worked really well in it. I'm happy with it for the time being because I feel it's a good transition bit. It's close enough to the snaffle that I can work her in it as I'd work her in the snaffle without feeling bad about being a little more direct with the reins, and I don't have to switch back and forth between bits. It'll be nice to work her in the actual bit we'll be showing in.
She warmed up really well but when we moved into the jogging portion of our ride, she wasn't exactly a willing partner. She was going a bit fast and was really trying to avoid the bit, not to mention she was ignoring me like crazy.
Me: "I need your head down, please. You're not soft!" *bump
Lilly: "La la la... ooh look, Music is rolling in the dirt!"
Me: "Yo! Pay attention!" *BUMP
Lilly: "No thank you, I'm good."
After we had our come to Jesus meeting, she let out a giant sigh and got to work. I was able to keep her focused, slow, and actually got a response when I bumped the inside rein. Amazing! We ended up doing quite a bit of jogging once I had her going as I wanted. I haven't been working on the jog quite as much as I probably should because I'm loving the fact that I have a horse that lopes, so we skim over the jog most days.
It's such a 180 from how our rides used to be... you know, back before we were western pleasure superstars. We would trot all day long in our english saddle and skim over the canter as often as we could. It needed so much work that I didn't even know where to start. We could get by at the shows because we usually only had to canter a couple laps around the arena and I could make it work. If she missed her lead, I'd just hope the judge didn't see and start over. We got by pretty well by doing this, and even managed to win a bunch of ribbons. They were 5th and 6th place ribbons, but we managed. We had showmanship to make ourselves feel good.
Now we lope, and lope, and lope, which has made a huge difference. We lope circles, we lope figure eights with simple changes in the middle, and then we lope some more. Today, though, I decided to dial back our lope work a bit. I was thinking about what I could do to help keep Lilly soft through her transitions so we could attempt a better lead change, and I realized that I might need to work on transitions in general. Instead of asking her to stay soft AND change her lead, I would just ask her to stay soft in her transition from the walk to the lope.
So that's what we worked on today. Walk-stay soft-lope-stop-back, over and over and over again. As I was hoping, she didn't get rushy or start anticipating the lope. We've made so much progress with that! It took many tries to finally get a transition where she didn't want to throw her head up in the air during takeoff, but once she got it, I reached down and scratched her neck, while praising the daylights out of her with my voice. The transitions that followed were fantastic, and she did exactly as I asked. She's in the stage where she's not happy about it, probably because it's easier to pop herself up, but she's doing it because I'm asking her to. As time goes on I know she'll get more comfortable with it and it'll get prettier every time we do it. Once we had it in the one direction we turned around and worked in the other direction. I didn't have to start over, she just picked up where we left off, so after a couple nice, soft transitions, we called it a day.
I was very proud of the way she worked today. She fought me a bit at first but we worked through it and ended up having such a fantastic ride. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's ride and I hope I can start my post with "she was so good today!"