Several of you were very encouraging in the comments, and I've also had a lot of time to think and spend time with all the horses. I did some groundwork with The Mare last week and she was an angel (of course). On Monday I had another discouraging ride though.
The issues were mostly boiling down to the fact that it was obviously and definitely not fun to work in the same place that she lived. Right now her and Tempest are living in the "arena" that I was using during the winter for riding. Then it was okay to work there, but now it is the worst thing ever. Obviously. o.O
The other fact is that its springtime... she is a mare... we have a new colt on the place... and she's always been a very strong and dominant mare during the spring.
And the third fact, which I've had to force myself to acknowledge, is that I've been asking for a lot from her. I love this dressage thing and I want to work on it every time I get on, but she isn't as enthusiastic about going in circles in the arena all the time, lol! So I have to remember to do things for her brain too so that she doesn't get sour.
|This is what Lady thinks of dressage!|
When she was calm and quiet and giving me attention, I decided to test her focus a little bit. I opened the gate of the paddock and gave her the choice of what to do. She could run off and bite Comanche over the fence, come and see me, or whatever. What she did do was look at the open gate for about 10 minutes and yawn (see above picture). She finally.... finaaaaallllyyy meandered over, stuck her nose out and promptly fell to eating the nice fresh grass on the lawn.
|Her normal face... eying the mud between her and the gate.|
She was being lazy enough, so I just groomed her while she grazed. I groomed for an hour. And she actually looked clean and somewhat shiny when I finished, so yay! I tacked her up slowly and played around with her for a while on the ground, mounted/dismounted a few times, walked her over some things and onto some things (trailer prep), etc, etc.
When I finally got on to ride she was quite relaxed and didn't have too much forward (the usual problem when riding out in the open). She actually behaved really well. I really focused on riding on the buckle and just getting proper basic responses to leg and rein aids.
I only rode for about 15 minutes. The last thing I did was ask for some circles at a walk and trot and she started lowering her head and blowing out - great signs! After a few good circles, I called it quits for the day because she was trying for me and that is what made me happy. :)
Here are my basic notes about today's work... if you're interested ;)
- She isn't confident in the bridle. We need to go back to the hackamore and use the bridle in groundwork to build confidence there.
- We need lots more work over poles. We had a bad stumble today because she was distracted and not looking where she was going. The work I did over poles last week was awesome - need more of that!
- She is great at leg aids! Seriously, there were a few times where she responded before I had to think about the reins. Super happy about that!
- Need to balance the bend. Either she is stiff, or she turns her head too far and lets her shoulder fall out. :)