Tuesday 3 November 2015

Fancy Prancing

We've been joking that Bridget and Katai of Stubborn Together have some sort of pony mind meld thing going on. Since Katai sounds like she's been a very good girl lately I was hoping Bridget might catch that vibe as well on lesson night.

Recycled pictures to break the text...again...
And wow, did she ever. She started out pretty sharp and spooky, but we funneled that energy for good rather than evil and I'm left totally inspired. Just when you think you know what your horse is all about, they surprise you! 

We started off trotting on a circle, spiraling in and out in addition to alternating shoulders to the inside and the outside. Those two things at once are like working in another dimension for my directionally (spell check says that's not a word, but I can't think of an alternate this early!) challenged brain, but it worked and pony warmed up super loose and supple. Next, EC had me think about slooowwwwing down. Bigger steps, same speed. And life was magical. Bridget was really lifting her back and using her hindquarters and it was all totally adjustable from my seat. Huge steps and really swinging through her back, same trot as normal but with a ton more suspension. I'm excited to see if this is a legit button now, and even more excited to see what we can do with it once she is a little stronger. (Fancy unicorn prancing everywhere? My vote is obviously YES. The child in me says it's appropriate for any occasion. If nothing else, we will mesmerize you with our prancing abilities - that is, if I could ever get pictures! ;)

Next up: take that magical unicorn trot and turn it into a canter. This is normally where our world implodes. Last night, it actually went surprisingly well. The transitions were great and the first few strides of canter felt incredible. Things unravelled a little after that, but the overall balance is just so much improved over even a month ago. Even in the not so great moments, I'm now able to ask for and get her to rebalance a stride or two at a time. She no longer has to gallop or break to trot when things get a little awkward.15m canter circles are now a thing, a noticeable improvement from September when 20m ones were a death defying stunt! Her walk and canter are both better than her trot out in the field, so I am hopeful there's a fancy canter waiting to be found consistently in the arena as well.

When we have rides like this I sometimes feel like I need to tone down my recap to keep it real. This time I say screw that - so many of our rides are not just on the struggle bus, but more like the struggle bus came along and ran us over, then stopped and backed up over us again. In other words, I need to really celebrate the good rides! She's probably the least naturally athletic welsh cob I've ever met and is packing around a not so tiny or athletic adult, so I'm extra proud when she gives us an A+ for effort. It really is much more rewarding than if it were all easy.

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  1. That sounds like a wonderful ride! She is looking awesome too :)

  2. When the pony mind meld is used for good instead of evil it's definitely something to celebrate ;-)

    Yay for fancy unicorn prancing!! I wish I could have seen it because I bet it was amazing :)

  3. So awesome!! I love those moments where it all clicks... soon you will be consistently in Unicorn mode!

  4. I love the struggle bus analogy. We've all been there but it's ride like these that make it so worth it.

  5. wooo i say celebrate away! you have such a special little mare - i'm so excited to hear she's doing so well! also, fwiw, we spent a long time just working on canter departs and just the first few steps bc the horse wasn't strong enough to keep holding it, so the trick was to transition down *before* things really fell apart, and just keep chipping away until the horse can go longer and longer. good luck!