So, I did better that first week with a work schedule for Tricia. I was aiming for three days a week and have only averaged two these last two weeks. Since we both had essentially been off since May, I guess this isn’t too bad-especially because Virginia is confused that it’s actually Fall, today was another 80+ day.
The first ride I was super happy with her. It honestly felt like we had lost about two weeks of good solid training, but that was all. For the time expanse of five months, two weeks is a small trade off. She was very cute, because she seemed excited to be working again. Sometimes she simply melts my heart! A lot of the time I ride with an “encouragement stick” and purposefully left it in the barn this ride. I didn’t trust myself, and didn’t need her all pissy over the whip. She was right on my leg, and listened to the cues. We got some stretch, and I didn’t ask for too much collection and elevation. The canter was gross, but again little collection and elevation, so not too surprising. I think we were just both happy to be together again.
The second ride I got the elevation and collection and the got greedy. I know! I am a terrible partner! I asked for a smaller box, and she refused. It wasn’t a full on throw down, but she was definitely saying a solid “no”! I wasn’t in the mood to fight and went back to asking for some stretch and go. Third and fourth ride were about the same. I didn’t get greedy again, but I was having difficulty asking for that lift and collection, even when we went back to our counter bending circles. She really has issues weighting her left hind, and she was really pushing back about even trying to place it in balance.
Fifth ride was a lesson. Thank God! We really needed it and I was a little nervous because it’s the first time I have ridden in front of people since getting back on her. It’s been five months off, and that while I was pregnant that was OK. I am still a little insecure in public. It’s this weird balance between being worried someone is going to ask about the baby and our loss, and being a little agitated if they don’t mention condolences. You share a lot of space with your barn family. Part of me just wants to go back to work, and to some semblance of normal….and part of me still ends up as a ball of mess over random little things. Grief sucks. Thank God that horses do not. Tricia was ready for the lesson, which was nice. She was feeling confident, and was reacting to all my aids perfectly. I confessed to working on all the stretching, and was kindly reprimanded for confusing the horse. Elevation and stretch need more hind end balance then we have right now. We ended up working on halt to trot transitions, some of which ended up being halt to canter (yay! very nicely balanced, and elevated canters), which definitely helped us find that next degree of elevation. I did feel as though I had the saddle too far forward, and will be placing it farther back next time. I kept having to find the back of the saddle to get out of the way of her elevation.
We have another lesson tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. Hope everyone is having happy rides, and awesome fall weather!