Today was windy and cold, and despite warnings from fellow boarders about how crazy their ponies were acting in the weather, I set out to ride anyway. My pony is good even when the weather isn't!
As I've been doing every time I ride, I used Lilly to open and close the arena gate. She's really starting to catch on and is actually waiting for me to tell her where to go and what to do next instead of deciding for herself. I can see the wheels turning in her head when we're opening the gate and she always looks so proud of herself when we're done. :)
I started off warming up like I always do and then moved on to some long trotting. She felt really forward, but she wasn't being silly... just full of energy, so after what I felt was a good bit of trotting, I went ahead and moved on to the canter. I was expecting the canter to be just as forward as the trot, but to my surprise, she picked herself up and LOPED! After a trip about half way around the arena, I expected her to speed up, but she stayed round and collected and gave me the most beautiful lope I've ever had! Even with transitions and figure eights mixed in, she stayed super round and never once got strung out. I've decided I'm going to go ahead and start using the term lope instead of canter now!
I took her over the jump a couple times, we did some more figure eights, and she was amazing! Even our lope to the right, which is usually her stiff way, was phenomenal. I've been working on side-passing over poles, hoping it'll help with the gate opening, and she did it with such finesse... it felt like I could move her feet with a feather!
I was having a fight with my subconscious during all of this... do I keep going, or do I quit while I'm ahead?? In the end, I decided to have the ride I had set out to have, but I didn't add extra tasks as I sometimes do after I get out there. We did our thing, opened the gate on our way out, and headed back to the barn.
This was definitely the best ride I've ever had!!