Sunday: Work in-hand at the walk and trot. Walked on gravel for several short periods of time and Lady was much, much better already - just a little tender and much less resistant than two days ago. We worked on leading from her off side, because I am stiff through my left shoulder and have trouble with blocking her with my body (transfers to riding too). We also practiced some HQ/FQ yields, focusing on moving the correct feet and keeping the weight balanced properly. Approximately 30 minutes.
Monday: It rained. :( I mean... yay! sort of...
Tuesday: Some more basic work in hand, working on her staying in the correct position (nose at my shoulder). We crossed the gravel driveway twice and she did fine, just wanted to slow down quite a lot so I think she is still a little tender. She started getting much better about not pushing ahead of me during leading time. She was sound at the trot, so we did circles on the 12-foot line. 10 laps of the trot in each direction - good start! :D At the end, I hopped on with just the halter and lead for a short bareback ride and it was quite nice. She was mostly well-behaved and cooperated well. Approximately 30 minutes.
Wednesday: No work. Mostly life and a mental block from me.
Thursday: Warmed up, tacked up, and mounted up! Went on one big loop of the arena at the walk, avoiding the enormous puddle in one corner of course. Changed directions and trotted most of the way around again. A challenge, but a good one! Got off and had her stay ground-tied while I pulled out a hay bale and a barrel as guidelines for the Figure 8 pattern. Did several rounds of that, then unsaddled and took her for a walk. We hung out in the tall grass for a treat afterwards. She was happy to be back in work. Approximately 1 hour.
Notes and Thoughts (mostly from Thursday's ride):
- I weight my stirrups unevenly, but I can't figure out which one it is. O.o
- Working out regularly has helped my shoulder! It was much less stiff this week.
- Why do I have trouble with my foot tipping, especially the right one? It ends up falling to the outside of the stirrup and twisting my ankle. It could be my hip - need to work on that.
- Lady really liked me keeping my hands low and wide. Her head stayed lower and she actually accepted a little bit of contact for a while.
- I need to do more big school movements.
- I need to stop making her move perfectly every time. Shorter increments of specific work interspersed with easier things. At least until she can focus without panicking for longer periods of time.
- Keep my spine tall and my seat deep. HUGE difference in her movement and our harmony.
- Keep the legs on, but keep them soft too.
- Try not to stop every time she deserves a reward. Learn to reward and pat and keep riding (i.e. walk on the buckle as a treat?). Teach her that she can keep moving forward too.
At this moment, it is really hard not to go jump back on and try all kinds of new stuff that I've been reading about, but somehow I don't think that is the best strategy. I also have to remember that what movements worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. I did loops and figure 8s on Thursday. Today I need to find something new so that she doesn't get bored or naughty. :-)
Here's to hoping Lady stays sound and healthy!