I didn't get outside until shortly before dark tonight, so there wasn't a lot of time to ride, which was in a way, for the best.
It would have taken me until dark to get tacked up (weird saddle issues) so I grabbed my bridle and went out to the pasture. The ponies were very sweet and trotted to the fence to meet me. Nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that they expect me to throw them hay.
I dragged some poles around and loved on them both for a minute and then bridled Lady and mounted off the fence. I've been super proud of her the last few times I've bridled her. She doesn't really like wearing a bit and doesn't like to let it into her mouth, but surprisingly has continued to stay quiet and doesn't raise her head at all. Thankfully.
She was mostly quite soft and we walked around for a few minutes. I was really focusing on staying "on the buckle" and not nit-picking at her. When she was responding better I asked for a little bit of trot. She's getting a lot better at not bolting or bracing whenever I ask for anything faster, so my goal right now is to have a nice trot-walk transition since its really awful at the moment.
We did some figure 8s with ground poles (which she hates) but I had set it up a little too tight and it didn't work out as well as I had planned. Lady was awesome though and cooperated.
I felt safe and confident enough at that point to try a canter. We haven't cantered in probably almost three weeks. She was reluctant to pick it up at first, but the second time around I just asked for more speed and we soared for a little while.
Best. Feeling. Ever.
And then she came right back to me and we continued to walk quietly on a loose rein. This horse is awesome. :)
I'm so happy that I can brag on myself because I did a LOT better at not bracing in my body and just going with the flow today. I don't always do a good job about making decisions while I'm riding and I usually have a few frustrated moments. Nothing major today and I'm so proud.
I'm also proud of Lady for being so willing. I know part of it was me doing better, but she's also improved lately.
In total, we probably worked for about 15 minutes, but there was enough improvement to make it much more than worth it. :)