One of my recent complaints is that I wish Emi would come out hot at one of our clinic rides. She's generally more lazy than she normally is at home. Not only do I need more horse for my lessons but it also makes it hard to get the right tools for riding that particular problem. This last week we've had all three ponies, lazy, hot and just right.
Hot: Sunday when I rode she was crazy tense. Probably the worst I've ever ridden her through. The day had been stormy but the weather wasn't bad when I was riding her. She was really spooky and tight. On those kind of days she's usually also fairly hot and quick off my leg. In between spooks we actually had some pretty nice work as I was riding her very strongly and insisting that she work. We are still on the struggle bus for bringing her shoulders around when tracking right. She was blowing through my outside aids and falling out in a big way at one point on the circle. I changed to tracking left (falling left) to feel that again and it was easy. Back to tracking right (falling right), it was really a no go. I finally brought her back down to the walk and reinforced my aids at the walk. After an hour of riding I called it a day as I didn't think I was going to gain anything by continuing on.
Just Right: I wasn't feeling super motivated to ride this evening but figured that I better just go out and get it done. Sure enough, Emi was a super star. Not too lazy, not too hot...just right. I opted to check in with her on the lunge line prior to hopping on (see Sunday's ride). Of course she lunged like an old school horse so less than 10 minutes in I was climbing aboard. She tried to be a little looky but overall was attentive and prompt to my aids. The connection was lovely tonight and the canter really is beginning to make progress. The transition is becoming slightly reliable and tracking left I'm gaining the ability to influence her. That's been really fun! Our shoulders falling in when tracking right was much better tonight. As warm up we did counter bend, shoulders coming around at the walk, in both directions. At the trot I finally felt like I had Emi coming off my outside aids when tracking right. I'm hoping she is finally understanding what I'm looking for. She got lots of praise tonight and a few extra breaks when she gave me the right answer. Good ponies don't have to work super hard so 30 minutes in she was done. I'm glad I chose to ride, even if I wasn't feeling it before I got out there. I'm reminded that "action precedes inspiration."