Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mostly Freedom

So, I didn't have time to pull out all my tack and ride yesterday, but I did have a really good ground session with Lady. I caught her and brought her to the "round pen" (which is actually a square) to play at Liberty. She was definitely in a better mood than she has been the last two days, and had plenty of energy. Her tendency when at Liberty is to take off at either a fast trot, or a canter. She isn't trying to get away from me - I knew this for certain because a piece of the fence is currently down and she could have left at any time if she wanted to. Rather, she stayed for the nearly 45 minute session without once trying to leave.
Anyway, since part of the reason for this session was for her exercise, I let her have her fun, as long as she was in a reasonably good frame. Quite honestly, her canter looked better than her trot: less hollow and stiff. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time riding her at the trot. Hmmm....
Although her canter isn't completely even, and she loses the period of suspension about half the time, I was very happy to see her get off on the correct lead EVERY time, and for the most part keep a decent bend towards the center of the roundpen. I let her "get some exercise" by running circles (changing direction every time she started to look crazy and hollowed out) but I also worked on getting her to calmly walk a few circles as well as back up quietly without exploding off on the circle. The walk went well, the back-up not so much, but it was okay.
I let her stay in the round pen to soak for a few minutes while I went to clean up in the tack room. She was calmer when I came back out, and let me put the bridle on without fuss. I was very very happy about this. She has never liked wearing a bit and was actually a real pain to bridle when I first got her. She is much, much better now. On Monday when I rode I also tightened the whole bridle one hole, so I think the bit is more comfortable in her mouth. She seems happier anyways. Once I got the bridle on, I asked for a little more work and then tried to get some Figure-8 pattern in, which she didn't want to do. Oh well.
I attached reins to the bridle and took her out in-hand for a walk. Technically, I prefer not to lead her in a bridle, but I want her to become more yielding to the bit, so doing a bit of ground-work is how we're going to achieve this goal. She got a bit strong when we turned for home, but not too bad and I put her back in the correct position beside me to remind her that I am still the leader.
Today, I ended up being far too rushed to get much done with her, but we did a short few minutes at Liberty before I saddled up and got on to practice a few things. It wasn't the best time ever because of having to hurry, but it was alright. I wanted to work on my ability to stand in the stirrups so that I can eventually do the rising trot, and I did get to practice that a little bit, so I was happy. Lady didn't get a workout, but if the weather isn't too cold or bitterly windy in the morning, I plan to get my 45-foot rope out and get her to move for a while.  :)

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