My ribs are feeling much better today, but I'm still having trouble sleeping, so I decided not to ride and give them another day of rest. Even though I didn't ride, I still wanted to work with Lilly on something and since she was a bit of a turd in our showmanship class on Saturday, I decided to work on that instead.
I set up the exact same pattern we had at the show and then I set up four cones in a row to practice backing through and around. She nailed it... She performed the pattern perfectly and backed around the cones like she'd been doing it for years. WHY??!!
Okay, fine. So I made up some random patterns and noticed she was giving me grief about setting up for our imaginary inspection. I always ask her to square her back feet first, so I would ask and she'd step too far back, then too far forward, then too far back... over and over and over again. When I finally got the rear hooves square, I'd ask for the fronts and she'd slowly drag them into place, creating a giant mound of sand, occasionally looking off into the other pastures, and generally ignoring me.
Lilly isn't a bad horse, but she does test me every once in a while and she does so by being extremely passive aggressive about certain things. She'll do things just enough to satisfy me, but she isn't really doing it properly or how I ask her to. In this case, "I'll set up my feet, but I'm going to take a really long time doing it, and I think I'll leave this foot a bit too far back and see if you make me fix it." In the past, she's gotten away with this behavior a lot, but it drives me crazy when she does it and I wasn't going to tolerate it today. Clearly she knows how to set up for showmanship... she's been doing it her entire life, so why she chose to push my buttons today, I don't know.
I really had to get after her and we worked on setting up for about 45 minutes because she just would not do it. If she did manage to set up properly, she figured once was enough and she didn't have to do it a second time. Twice in a row... that's all I wanted! Not to be outsmarted by my pony, we worked and worked until she did it twice, and then three times in a row, and at the end of the session, she was finally stopping square in the front and all I had to do was push a hind foot into place.
In between some of our set up practice, we worked on pull turns. Even though I've never had to do a pull turn, I figure it couldn't hurt to learn them just in case. She was a bit confused at first, so I went to the opposite side and asked her to pivot. She did it without hesitation, so I went back to the correct side and pulled her toward me. She pivoted nicely! I did three or four more pull turns and she did them all quite well. Does anyone know which hoof she should pivot on for the pull turn? Is it still the right hoof like we do for a normal pivot?
It really bothers me when I have to get after her like I did, and now I feel like crap. I went to the barn ready to work on backing around cones, and I was going to be super patient and understanding because it's something we haven't really worked on. Backing straight, yes. Backing in a half circle, not so much. It really caught me off guard that the thing we had to work on for nearly the entire session was something super simple and super easy... something she has been doing for 12 years.