My rides on Carmen are getting better and better each time. I'm hoping that it's my perseverance and lack of fear. Each ride there has been a discussion but each time it's 'one and done' and we can move on.
For example, on Friday, after our walk warm up I asked her to trot. As we headed up to the mounting block she began to balk and spook at it. I asked her to go forward with increasing pressure until she went by. And that was it. I wouldn't normally 'force' a horse at something that was spooky but we had been by that block numerous times already (not to mention that I used it to mount) so I couldn't accept that it was spooky when we were trotting.
I'm enjoying the work that we are playing with- the leg yields feel smoother and easier.
The transitions are coming. Today she was lovely warming up at the walk once I sorted out slowing her down. I asked her to trot and she balked. After a few failed attempts (I just cant trot and you are mean) I picked up the crop. All I did was ask for a trot like I had been and Missy just trotted off like it was no big deal. Hmm. I ended up carrying the crop for the ride and never ever used it.
working on the half-halt in our lesson last week
We're schooling the figures for First level and all are within her wheel house as long as she is attending to me. Every time it goes to hell it's because she's tuned in to other things. I set up trot poles and the first few times through she was looking at the far end with her head up and back dropped. Needless to say it sucked. After trying different things I settled on trotting her through, halting, doing a turn on the forehand and trotting back. A couple times over and she realized that lifting her back and lowering her head made it much better. I praised her and she seemed quite pleased that she had figured out the answer.
Canter in both directions was lovely- smooth and flowing. I decided to try the counter canter loop. The first time she did a flying change in the middle and then fell off balance and into a fast trot. No big deal- we just regrouped and picked up the canter and I made sure that I was supporting her and it was lovely. I gave her a pat and a walk break and then tried it on the right lead. Despite this being her 'bad' lead she totally rocked it. I was happy and called it a day.
trot to walk transition
I'm feeling very positive about our trajectory right now. We're not perfect by any stretch but we're so much better then we were. She's stronger and I'm getting better and sitting up. I get excited about riding and schooling rather then feeling like I have to gird my loins.
Next week is clinic with Johanna and I'm very excited. I have some position things that I want to focus on and Johanna is great with that (she's a level 2 centred riding instructor).