So, then Monday happened. Dressage lesson night and time to pay up for all my slacking in the flat work department the last couple of weeks!
Bridget, being the super smart pony she is, was like, "NOPE. Cannot bend left. Ever. At all." Also overheard: "Contact? Round? Are you kidding me?" Next up: "And now that we've established I cannot dressage, it's time to jump, right?"
Cue mini pony tantrum every time we passed the jump located unbearably close to our 20m circle of dressage remediation. Which, over the course of an hour = roughly eleventy billion times.
|We got sweaty|
So, on to some bad news: Bridget has become quite particular about the contact, and I'm currently struggling a bit with it, because she's perfectly happy to go everywhere in more of an up and open frame and is bendy enough that the usual tricks of getting her rounder by creating bend, shoulder in, spirals, etc etc do nothing to help.
And, the good news: Bridget has become quite particular about the contact. I'm told this is actually OK and a normal progression for the kind of ride she is- it means she's learning to carry herself more often than not rather than relying on me/the reins to help balance. This is forcing me to ride better and be more conscious of my elbows. No more keeping a steady contact and riding her forward to it...now we're in a bit of a grey area where she's not always in good balance, but she certainly would prefer I follow along quietly. Shes in front of my leg and taking me along most of the time, but not all the time. I'm figuring it out as I go, as is she, but when we get things right, there's some nice things happening. The consistency will come, I hope.
|Lilac colored cooler because if you have a pony it's basically a requirement to have girly things in the wardrobe.|
And, as a final note, something sort of cool happened towards the end of the ride. I was finally riding better, Bridget was soft and round and had all the impulsion right there. We've been super strict about Bridget being active and forward this fall, and also really working hard on the canter. So, last night, when I meant to transition to trot, the Midge just sat and pretty much cantered on the spot. Not what I had in mind, but I cantered forward out of that and gave her a big pat - certainly I'll accept that effort from the pony who could barely canter a year ago. Besides....it felt super neat and I'd like to hope that canter will be a real thing in our future :)