That being said, we still had a really great lesson this week. Rather than doing the square peg/round hole thing by trying to dressage on a hyperactive pony, instead we wisely opted to funnel that energy into a jumping lesson.
We started over single fences, then added in a 4 stride line, then a 3 stride, then put it all together into a little course of 10 jumps. There were barrels, Jimmy Wofford inspired low/wide oxers, a few verticals and a couple of cross rails. My focus was to be on creating an adjustable canter, and keeping a consistent pace after the jump. Straight lines and accurate turns as always, we tend to cut corners and get all unprepared when a jump 'magically' appears suddenly. Everything was about 18 - 24" so nothing overly big - we don't tend to multitask well when I am focusing on the jumps themselves so tiny stuff is our friend while we continue to sort out Bridget's canter and my lack of preparation.
|I pull this mane every day and braid it over. And it still looks like this...I'm so close to giving up and letting it grow double sided and super thick.|
I don't think there was an entire course that went without either a (minor) pony or rider oops, but I was happy - we're a long way from pony who couldn't hold a canter (or turn lol), not to mention a rider who got all weird and nervous about jumping. Mostly importantly, we both had SO MUCH FUN. Like all good ponies, Bridget is very brave and smart with her feet, so I feel quite confident about getting around safely. I still get a little anxious about my ability to ride some of the more random and enthusiastic efforts well, but even that is a pretty low level worry these days - she's becoming quite consistent and I'm getting a better feel for where I need to be/what she's going to do. EC has promised to set up a lot of grids to work on my position (in a month or two when Bridget is a little more solid) and I look forward to it, I think it will definitely help me feel more confident.
My other rides this week were not so great. We do need to dressage and pony was not pleased about that. She also can't bend left at the moment...unless of course there are jumps involved, then magical things happen. As for the actual canter, I can't believe we've been persisting with it for over a year now. Word to the wise - lazy welsh cobs who were taught to drive (and not canter with the cart) may prove to be a bit of a time sink as far as actually establishing anything beyond trot, particularly if you're very amateur yourself. Last night's ride was the worst in a long time, super rude pony tried to say she can only gallop along on the forehand with her head in the air.
Lots of groaning and complaining took place every time I called her on her rudeness and did some spirals and transitions. Eventually she got softer and more willing. I guess I should appreciate that 'crazy' mood Bridget only equals the above nonsense and not anything challenging. Once she burns off the sillies, she goes back to being a little more agreeable (and the groaning/strangling noises stop, thank goodness). Knock on wood, consistent jumping lessons seem to be the key to unlocking her beautiful canter and it does make an appearance quite often these days - even on the flat! Maybe one day soon we'll have the perfect trifecta: Daylight, Sunshine, and Photographer, so this blog can be less boring and more pictures again :)
|Old photo to illustrate - Bridget still looks the same on a bad day, except there is now some pulling like a train, usually with a gaping mouth and lots of groaning and noises like I am strangling her.|