|Pony needs a better diet and exercise regime|
In short, while I have been riding regularly because I like to spend time with Bridget, I have not been focusing much energy on riding better or training anything. We just hack around, jump stuff sometimes, and generally just drift along in the fairly happy place we currently occupy.
Of course that changed last night when EC returned to give us our first lesson in weeks :) When I got on, Bridget felt so soft and loose and wonderful that I was crossing my fingers for a dressage lesson. Also, our jump schools have mostly been sucky and avoiding it makes it go away, right? Anyway, our warm up must have looked as nice as it felt because EC came in, sat down and just quietly watched me. Normally, at least a few tips are shouted my way, and sometimes a full on intervention is necessary. Last night, the silence said it all.
Our lesson mate has a super lovely mare who also wanted some dressage work, so my wish for a dressage lesson was unanimous. Pheww.
We started with some walk/trot transitions, then our game of coming forward and back in the trot. I've been playing with this because it's fun. B felt great, and again, beyond the odd encouraging word, silence from EC. We mixed it up by finding B's current biggest possible lengthen trot, and her tallest collected trot. Of course they're still in the wobbly baby stages, but I'm lucky that she has the conformation that allows her to sit and use herself if I ask nicely. Just a stride or two here and there, then back to her comfort zone for a few. She's getting the idea! First level is looking to be well within sight this fall.
Next, up to the canter. It felt really good for her, no bracing and she is starting to think about bringing those hind legs further under when I ask for more, rather than trying to flatten and speed up. We did some spirals and I was beyond thrilled when we got some good quality 10m circles with no loss of balance. It's been a super long time coming...just a few months ago a 20m circle was beyond difficult for the pony.
Bridget earned herself a nice break, and I was in desperate need of one too, because we'd been trotting and cantering for 45min by that point. I need more fitness!
|She does look happy I came back for her, at least.|
After a few minutes, off we went to do "proper" shoulder in. Until now, I've been coming off the circle and asking for a few strides before straightening, or doing more of a modified leg yield where her front end is on the correct bend/track but her body is straight, not bent around my leg, and hindquarters are also a little too far out behind us to be super correct. Baby steps because the pony finds lateral work quite difficult. Last night, we put all the pieces together and she surprised me by being strong enough to do some lovely shoulder in both directions, with minimal asking from me. I realized after that I had been posting the whole time as well, in days past I really, really needed to site and use my seat to help her along. Of course the shoulder in is not a goal unto itself, it's a tool to help her strengthen and bring those hind legs under and eventually give us more power and cadence. Because yep... one of our next steps in this process is adding grown up pony collected work :)
Oh, and a jumping lesson tomorrow night, because for now we are still pretending to be eventers and we have an event coming up this weekend. I might puke from nerves.
I love my smart little pony. She might not be the most athletic or talented thing out there, but she's just so much fun.