[To sum it all up, I borrowed a nice trailer from a friend to bring my horse to our old trainer, was re-evaluated, told I need to keep my reins shorter and bring my horse to a slower pace, and was given work to do at home mainly centered around getting the most out of lateral work; this man trained her before I came along and says I will have to wait for her to offer vertical flexion, and I'm not allowed to be picky about her topline or frame... emphasis primarily on balance, balance, and energy. I've been following this at home for about 3 weeks, and also got a new joint supplement for her after having another chiro adjustment. I've got a whole new horse... albeit one that remembers how to kick up her heels.]
Further detail; I was sick for the last week with a stomach bug. A very nice way to waste some good days of weather, right? Between sleeping, drinking, and practically living in the bathroom praying to the porcelain god, I continued to care for my mare and let her have more turn out, which she thankfully took advantage of. I also on most days practiced cueing her to lift her legs, especially to switch her weight between her hind legs in a sort of fetus-stage piaffe. Still did the back-lifting, pelvis tuck, and lateral flexion exercises, too.
Now, today I went out to do only trot and walk work because I didn't want to overload the booger (and considered she may have it in her to buck, which I'm not in the mood for). She did well, I can see a positive improvement, also that things are becoming *her* idea... I would set her up to bend in a circle, and she would start bending before I gave all the aids. So I thought I needed to be quicker with applying them together. She countered by lowering her head, tucking her chin, and stepping FAR over so that I really wasn't making a circle anymore, I was making a drunken loop almost like a turn on the forehand. Alrighty. I balanced it out by making the aids lighter. Also countered by her speeding up once she realized I had practically forgotten my outside rein. Fine... so I gave her a pat for the good steps, walked the bend, and had to *let* her trot (put my hands forward an inch and stretch my leg downward) then already had her on the bend going slow... Olé! Gotcha!
But it did come in handy for her to try out-smarting me... It let me do less work for a few seconds
and had little to no resistance to asking for the maneuver. I let her go on the straightaway for some times after the bending circles to see how she goes, how we could keep the same pace and straightness. After some half halts and legging her to keep her straight and moving, she flexed vertically and had something of a frame--- I wouldn't call it a true frame so early, I've ridden a Dressage lesson horse in frame to get an idea for the feel, she wasn't the same as the other mare but became much easier to sit and did feel on the aids.
I don't know what she looked like exactly, though I asked my non-horseman father who had been watching from the barn and said she looked "like a champion, her legs were all... up high and moving" *insert mental image of man pretending his hands are hooves and raising them jauntily up and down". Well, I'll take his word for it; she did feel better. I went ahead and asked for vertical flexion at the end in free walk to see what she would make of it, she was readily stretching down and out, so I gathered the reins a bit and asked then, she was quite offended and shocked that I blocked her from stretching all the way down. Put a little leg on, and asked again with more contact on the outside rein... she responded, but could not hold this as desired so I put her into trot and ask for a square halt. Aced it except for one leg--- tap, tap, with the dressage whip on the offending hoof and ta-da! Dismount and off to the showers. I might have gone longer if not for the unholy humidity... she's clipped with a #30 and still sweat on this cloudy day.
Awesome-est things of the day: baby-frame sitting trot, less resistance in bending, and did two leg yields either side for about 8 strides.