Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We trotted!

I've trotted on the pony (on purpose) twice now!

The first time, I started out with her on the long lines and did some walk exercises with halt transitions, turning in circles, changes of direction, and walking over cavaletti. She was very calm so I took the lines off, did some more in-hand work to prepare for the under-saddle work, then I got on.

She's very polite for mounting and just stands there until I'm ready to go. We started off at a walk with steering, halting, flexions, and a gentle one-rein stop. Good.

I tried to give her some little kicks to get up into trot, but she didn't appreciate that so I went for more leg pressure, instead, and that worked better. I combined leg pressure with clucks and my voice command to trot, and up she went! The first time I tried posting, she was like "whoa, what the heck is going on!" so I sat for a few steps and walked again. Clucked her back up to trot, sat for a few steps and then walked again. We changed directions, I clucked and squeezed her up into trot and posted the trot and she was fine. Steering was moderately not-bad! We did two more changes of direction, on the last trot we did a whole lap around the arena in a moderately-balanced fashion, so I asked her to walk, jumped off and gave her lots and lots of praise and took her back to her stall.

She was so good! And the even better news is that she has a nice trot that is very comfortable to ride. And the best news is that she didn't even think about any misbehavior, not even once! She's such a superstar pony!!!

Today we did it again. This time I started by lunging first, as I want to work on her canter and voice commands in preparation for cantering under saddle when the time is right. After a brief warm up, we did our other in-hand work (turn on the forehand today, along with me walking next to her and using the reins) and then I got on.

We pretty much did the same thing as last time, but for more laps. Again in the beginning she seemed a bit worried about the posting and she kept wanting to stop, but I kept clucking and squeezing with my legs (while at the same time trying to be light in the saddle) and so she would get going again. By the end we were able to do two laps in each direction and I was pleased with her responsiveness.

I thought I'd give a little cool-down trail ride a try today so I brought her up to the gate to open it from her back. She didn't get it and so walked off. I got her turned around, better positioned, and she was so good - I just reached over and grabbed the gate, put the reins in one hand and my right leg on and she just swung her butt over as I opened the gate, and out we went! We did one lap around the back trail and came back. The ninja neighbor dog came running up to the fence (but not barking) and that startled her so she jumped forward a bit but came right back to a halt. The rest of the walk was uneventful and there was no barn-sourness; in fact, she didn't want to go back in the arena when we were done!

Such a good girl...I think she's having the last heat cycle of the year right now (as evidenced by her squirting and sticking her butt in Mac's face any chance she gets), but was perfectly well-behaved.

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