After my last lesson (or the last one I wrote about), I ended up working some long hours over the weekend, and soon it was four days between rides. Whoops. Did not mean for that to happen. At. All.
Anyways, I ride early on Tuesday mornings, and managed to drag myself out of the house the following Tuesday by 7:30am. It was painful and I almost didn't do it, but, just like every other time I ride early in the morning, as soon as I walk into the barn and smell the hay and the ponies and hear all the quiet barn noises, it makes me smile and feel happier that I made myself go.
Since I wasn't feeling too great that day, I didn't make much of an effort during the ride, which was just under 30 minutes. Missy has more energy and spook in her in the early morning, and this day in particular, she kept having trouble going straight or staying focused. It was more amusing than anything else, in all honesty, and almost made me relieved that all I really had to work on was keeping her attention and maintaining correct direction and gait. We ended that ride when she gave me a full lap of concentrated trot with decent rhythm.
I almost went to ride on Wednesday, but the house was glaringly unorganized, so I tried to be an adult and clean it instead. Thursday was time to lesson again, and I felt very uncoordinated the entire time. Mostly from feeling under the weather most of the week, probably, but it was rough. The canter felt so much improved though, I really started to grasp how to keep a good rhythm in the gait and not get tossed about with it.
On Friday, my classes were cancelled (yay for being a piano major and not a band/vocalist major!) so I used the extra time to go ride again. I was prepared for Missy to be sleepy, which she was - fell asleep in the crossties again, silly mare - but as soon as fast as I could get her warmed up, I put her into a canter on a loose rein and really got her moving. It only took a little bit of that to get her energy up. I worked on posting in rhythm and balance, two point at the trot and canter and did some figure 8s at the trot. I've had an exercise in my head for a while now that I finally felt confident enough to do this time, which was basically a figure 8 at the canter, but with a trot change of lead in the center. Missy is fantastic about picking up the correct lead, no matter how fumbled I get, and she was very honest about this, letting me know when I did not ask correctly or just confused her with my aids. I was about ready to end on a good note when we had worked for about 30 minutes, but when I tried to cool her out at the walk, she kept breaking into the trot, so I finally laughed at her and we went back to the same exercises for another 30 minutes. After that, she was more than content to cool down and head back to the barn, but she is fit enough that she could likely have gone on for a long time yet.
***Since I wrote this on Friday, Missy has been officially moved to a new barn. I will still be taking lessons at the college equestrian center indefinitely (on school horses), and everything else is still working itself out. Nothing has changed with the lease or otherwise, only with location and lessons.