Today, I took Midge out for a quick ride. My immediate impression as soon as I got in the saddle was that my quiet, happy pony is back. Yay! I took her for a quick spin to the ring, and she was pretty good. In the ring I do feel like there is a bunch of residual anxiety and tension in the form of being too quick and bracing (particularly to the right) but at least I did not have to nag for forward. There were many good moments once she started to realize I wasn't going to chase or nag her (or make her trot counterbent - oh my was she ready for a meltdown on my first right rein trot circle!). We had a lovely left rein canter, then reversed and played a bit with suppling on the right rein, before I asked (and immediately got) a right lead canter. Who says I can't get it done? :) I told her what a fantastic pony she is and she seemed to be proud of herself - she offered a lot more than she normally does! I met her halfway and rode it a little more before asking her to transition down just before we got an entire 20 m circle. We repeated that a couple of times, doing a circle or two of working trot to rebalance, then a canter. Right lead is still the more difficult one but I feel like she's catching on to what I'm looking for. Her work ethic seemed much improved so perhaps our awful weekend did come with a positive.
|Happy ears in the ring|
We finished with a really nice hack home. Even if we currently fail at this dressage thing, we win at having fun. We trotted and cantered along the nice grassy side of the road and it was wonderful. The weather was warm and sunny, and you know that feeling when your horse is carrying you along and is totally with you - neither pulling nor needing to be kicked on? I just had one hand on the reins and she went along on a loose rein with her ears up at whatever pace I chose - one of those moments of perfection!
I'm going to schedule an extra lesson this week with S so I can a bit more help dealing with the confidence beating the pony and I took this past weekend. While I'm pleased Bridget seems to think we're in this together, I do think her confidence in what she's doing is not as high as it once was, and my confidence in my abilities to train the little beastie is in shambles. At least after our ride today though, I'm feeling a lot more positive. If nothing else the pony and I still have each other's backs!