Thursday, September 1, 2016

The post-great-ride high

I just love my pony! She is coming along so quickly. I had to change her riding schedule this week so she got Monday off and I rode Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday I rode in my jumping saddle as I wanted to work on getting off her back and going really forward at the canter. I went back to something I learned from one of my trainers about riding corners and started off with that exercise at the walk (indoors). Then we went outside to the dressage arena. This was actually the first time I've ridden Pony in it since I put all the flowers around it. She was curious and not spooky about them. We worked on basic walk, trot, canter stuff, focusing on geometry of 20-meter circles and promptness of responses to aids. She was nice and forward and picked up the canter wonderfully and we got some actual 20-meter circles at the canter in both directions! Awesome!

I don't know if it is the saddle itself or my position or maybe I ride differently in my jumping saddle, but she seems to be most happy in that one because she canters mo' betta in it.

Anyway, after a light schooling of 20 minutes or so I gave her a loose rein and walked out of the arena and let her choose the path to walk on. She had a choice of probably five different forks of the path and chose the fork with the jump. So of course we had to jump it! I had set up another group of poles and standards to make a second jump. The poles were set as trot poles at the time so after landing from the first jump there's enough room to canter away, but then come back to a trot to go through the poles (or jump, when it is time). So we jumped the first jump and trotted the poles a couple times. Between each time we'd finish the trail loop on a loose rein at the walk. After the second time, I made the second pole into a cross rail and jumped that by itself. Then we went back and I put the two jumps together. Two trot poles to a cross rail (bigger one this time!); land and canter away. Come back to the trot, and go over the second jump which was another two trot poles to a cross rail. Land and canter away. She was so perfect that she got lots of good girls, lots of pats, a loose rein, and we finished on the trails and then walked back to the barn.

Yesterday we trailered out for a dressage lesson and she was so good! She was still a looky-loo in the beginning, but her steering was much better, circles were more uniform, straight lines were straighter, and she was moving forward into contact more consistently. Canter wasn't as good as it is at home, but it was better than in last week's lesson (when she threw in a little squeal and buck for good measure . . . you know, since her stallion friend was there watching). I got help with turning down center line, and for some reason she seems to think/know that going across the diagonal means extended trot! It is pretty cute and fun to ride. It just left me with a big happy smile on my face and happy thoughts for the rest of the day. :-)

I'm going to take her for our first jumping lesson this weekend - can't wait!

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