Bridget felt a lot less wild than on Friday (mental note, days off for B are currently not my friend). She warmed up fairly loose and relaxed, but got pretty tense and over reactive when I picked up the contact and started asking for a little more. She's gone from being behind the leg to bracing and rushing, so that's a bit of an adjustment for me! I feel like if I am not careful she can start to feel a little restricted/stuck if I am not soft enough in my shoulders and elbows. Which sometimes I am, because instinct is like "Ahhhh pony is running away with me, don't give her any more rein!" Rule #1 - give her somewhere to go, otherwise I'm only creating more resistance. We figured it all out pretty quickly for a change, and finished up with a few jumps. I did something silly there, in that the final fence in a series of three related distances looked slightly bigger than we normally jump (in my defense I thought it was about 2'6 ish, so not hugely outside the norm, but one of the barn girls today said 3'3". The ring trends downhill in that corner and stuff placed there looks smaller from a distance than it is. Still, I might want to reevaluate my apparently non existent height judging skills. Oops) Whatever the actual size, we were jumping the first two in the line, then circling, but Bridget kept saying "let me try that one, I can do it!", and I was like "Maybe...OK, I guess...oh shite now we are committed and this looks bigger than I thought! Commence backwards riding!" Poor Midge got buried, then made a huge effort, but hit it behind. She was choked and went off on a bucking spree to let me know how mad she was at me. I deserved that :) As my gesture of peace, we went out on a short trail ride and I think she forgave me.
|Happy ears, been a long time since we ventured off property|
I was warned she was a little wild all morning, serving as a distraction to the horses and riders taking lessons in the arena by bolting around her paddock bucking and spinning. Whatever crazies she had must have been burned off by the time I rode because Midge warmed up beautifully. Our flatwork felt really soft and consistent. I'm living in hope we can bring that energy and relaxation to a test at some point. Right canter was beautiful, left was nice but feels like the weaker side currently. Collected canter accidentally happened for a few strides when I played the transition game off my seat - amazing feeling but not something I need to play with without help on the ground (see above about our tendency to get "stuck"). Jumping was great, I lowered that third fence a bit when Midge wasn't looking and she jumped it all huge and proclaimed herself champion of all the things. When we got back to the barn she tried to tell all the other horses how awesome she is, but they weren't buying it and quickly put her back in her place in the pecking order. She's such a confident and funny little mare.
Last weekend is still gnawing away at me, but weekends like this one remind me why I spend so much time working away at the barn. Bridget is really stepping up and loving her job, and it's starting to feel like she is getting halfway rideable, with more and more cool buttons being installed. She's getting much more sensitive to me, and with that comes some responsibility on my part - no more 'big' or vague cues - she knows the difference now and is super adjustable from my seat. I finally feel like we're really developing a partnership. She's a lot more generous with me these days, and (SO embarrassing to admit) I'm finally really believing in her in her own right, rather than constantly comparing her to Ginger.
|The little path from the indoor back to the barn|
Next show: Not until mid January (Did I ever recap the dressage show a couple of weekends ago? Ginger did great with M and got a third place this time, again at training level)