We started out the day with a little warm-up and I chatted with Alex about what I needed some help with. I've been having issues with Lilly's lope transitions, so I was hoping she could watch what I was doing (or not doing) and give me some pointers on how to improve them.
|Warming up nicely at the jog.|
I posted previously how Lilly's right lead transitions were a bit rough and it felt like she was "popping a wheelie". After describing everything to Alex, she told me to just go ahead and show her what I meant. She had the camera ready and took a series of pictures during my transition:
|Popping a wheelie...|
|Leveling out like a good girl.|
|Ask for the lope...|
|Away we go!|
After setting the ground rules, Alex rode her around at the jog and lope and it became quite obvious to her what the problem was. Lilly was traveling around with her inside hip stuck out, all crooked and whatnot. She doesn't really do it going counter clockwise, but travelling clockwise it's quite obvious. Well, it was obvious to Alex, but clearly not obvious to me... at least not until she pointed it out. I could see it quite well at the jog, and as soon as Alex told her to put it back where it goes, it was like night and day. Here's Lilly jogging around with her hip stuck out like a goon:
Lilly, you cut me deep!
I could really feel it at the jog, and I felt it the most when we were jogging in a straight line. The good news is, as soon as I ask her to put it back and travel correctly, she obliges. She feels taller, more round, and I can feel her shoulders open up as well. However, in true passive aggressive fashion, she decided to transfer her objection to traveling correctly. We went from a hind end objection to a front end objection. Behold! The head twist!
|"I don't wanna jog straight!"|
So, from now on, when we do anything, she needs to keep her hip in line with the rest of her body and it's my job to be diligent about asking her for it, and make her travel correctly. This should also improve the work I'm doing with flying changes because it'll be much easier for her to change when her body is straight. She gave me a gorgeous flying change yesterday when she initially picked up a wrong lead. The change was like butter!
Here's Lilly giving me a nice stop. She is always hunting for the whoa, and is more than happy to do so when I ask for it. If you're not sitting deep, she'll throw you right out of the saddle.
|Hittin' the skids!|
So to wrap up with a few other thoughts:
1.) I see exactly what Alex means when she says Lilly is passive aggressive. She's not the type of horse to buck or rear, so she uses her brain to come up with other ways to make her life easier. It'll be up to me to recognize those tactics and get her back on track.
2.) I need to ride with a little more seat and more energy. I think the spurs will help with this as well because I'll be able to refine my cues a bit, but I want her to say "yes, ma'am!" rather than, "welllll, okay..." I've conditioned myself to ride with a super quiet seat and legs so as not to unleash the speed dragon that lurked within Lilly's body, but we're past that now, and she's ready for a more active rider.
3.) As much as it gives Alex seizures to hear me gush about my pony and dote on her like I do, it's extremely difficult for me to think of Lilly as anything but a "friend". She means the world to me and sometimes when I'm riding, I let that relationship get in the way of the kind of training that Lilly really needs. Alex said Lilly and I have a democracy, and instead I need to be more of a dictator. She said, "you know, be like North Korea..." I gasped in horror! She said I should always ask first, but when I don't get the response I want, I need to demand that she accommodate me, rather than have a discussion about how we can compromise. I know this to be true, but putting it into practice is difficult for me for some reason. Lilly has some kind of super power, and she uses it on me every.single.day.
I mean, just look at this sweet face... you'd never guess that she's a pony who likes to manipulate me into doing her bidding, would you?
|"Me? A manipulator?"|