And, on to horses...
Bridget had her trainer ride yesterday and it was worth every penny! So worth it, in fact, I'm contemplating making room in the budget or working off a trainer ride once every couple of weeks or so. Midge tried all the tricks with her, and I was shown how to work through each. It's so helpful to be able to see your horse go! The good news is, Midge looks a million times better than the last time I saw her. The bad news? Still lots of work to go!
-Pick the fight about not running through the bridle the moment I get on, if necessary. No extended long/low warm up, she's schooled enough to warm up politely in a relaxed working frame.
-When I pick up even a little contact, her default is to lean/run through it. When you correct that, she gets wiggly and behind the bit. Insist she moves out on a polite medium walk even in warm up.
-I can fix a lot of the trot/canter problems in that walk. Once warmed up, transition within the walk, collect the walk and insist she stays honest in the bridle. Walk pirouettes, haunches in, shoulder in, spirals, test all the buttons before moving to trot. (Note here: B offered up a fabulous, adjustable trot after picking the fights in walk - I am definitely following this advice, rather than my current method is moving forward to trot/canter to get the naughtiness out!)
- As per above the trot work was really, really nice so she didn't do a ton of it.
- Canter/trot transitions. Great to the right, sticky to the left. Trainer tapped Midge with the whip and was given a huge (for a midget pony) buck and bolt. Silly mare, but the transitions were pretty immediate after that!
-Walk/canter transitions. Went pretty well, it's all about keeping the bend and having a nice round walk.
- Left canter in particular pretty unbalanced. Transition is a little trickier to set up this direction, and balance gets progressively worse as you make your circle. Lots of transitions needed to help her understand/build strength. On a 20m circle, transition to trot for a few strides when she starts to feel unbalanced, then back to canter. Goal, eventually 1-2 trot strides, then canter. Eventually just think transition (but don't) - have her balance off a half halt.
-Canter has improved a lot in the past 3 months, it's just the trot work has improved way more so the canter feels not so great in comparison.
All in all, lots of good feedback and I feel really encouraged - I could see a ton of progress since the last trainer ride. Particularly in walk/trot, the moments of "so fancy - is that even my pony?!" have morphed into minutes. The canter has moments now too, so I have hope those moments can become minutes eventually as well!