I guess this is one of those days were I had a bad day with her and I feel like I should just give up trying with her, yknow? But I know I shouldn't give up, I just feel so hopeless that she'll EVER be a sane easy ride.
So first I lunged her a smidge, I wasn't going to at first but when I got to the barn it was evident that she had been stalled pretty much all weekend with only maybe a few hours of turnout, so she needed a little "release time". I started lunging her and all she wanted to do was run, run, run. She was being responsive to me but she obviously wanted to GO! So I got her warmed up and let her canter, and canter, AND canter some more. She didn't pull any rearing tricks which I was proud of, but she kept cutting in towards me. I kept pushing her out pretty hard but she kept coming back in because yknow, "OMG! My buddies are over there and I'm over here and the 4 feet I'm cutting in are TOTALLY going to help me get back to them sooner!!" Yeah. Sorry Lacey, that doesn't work, just sayin.
Then I got her all tacked up (oh and btw, by the time she was done extended trotting/cantering for literally ten minutes, she wasn't breathing hard at all >.< ) and I decided to work on some lateral flexion (something she's pro at from the saddle) to help her get more comfy with being mounted. Well, that wasn't going to happen as easily as I hoped! I got her to flex both directions (from the ground) pretty easily so I decided to gently stick my foot in the stirrup.
And the poneh decided that it was time to literally canter backwards.
Thankfully the ground was so slippery from all the rain that she sat down on her rear and I got my foot out. Next time I do that, I'm totally going to wear my helmet, just so y'all know.
I realize it was totally my fault too. I went way too fast for her and she showed me just what she thought of my "training plan". I continued with a smaller big picture in mind.
We went back to flexing both directions, over and over and over again. I wanted her to start chewing because she had her mouth SUPER tight and when she's tense bad things happen. She was surprisingly hard to get to flex to the left. The right was super easy (I was standing on her left) but the left was difficult for her. Each time I got her to flex I would vocally praise her liberally and reward her with scratches and hugs because, for some reason, that seems to be what she responds the best to.
After she was totally comfy with flexing (and she let her lips be looser, I didn't get her to chew until closer to the end but she was getting more comfy), I gently put my foot in the stirrup again. She started backing up again but with less speed and intent. Haha I kept moving with her and she stopped and flexed after about 7 steps backwards. After that I flexed her some more and kept putting my foot gently in the stirrup. Interestingly, she seems to have a harder time when she can't see my foot going into the stirrup. Eventually I got her to where she was pretty ok with my foot in the stirrup, while her head was flexed.
I never actually rode today, I think I'm going to put off riding until I can get her to stand still for mounting (which is where this whole thing originated from). I feel like I'm stealing from her a little when she's obviously not comfortable with me getting on and I do anyway, yknow?
Then she was having some major leading issues, barging ahead to get back to her buddies so we went to the arena and she actually JOINED UP with me!!!!!! She's never been willing to before and I've tried and tried to get her to join up with me and she never has, until today!
I wasn't even trying to get her to either, I was just free lunging her and making her turn a bunch (and playing the "I'm going to keep her in this corner of the arena for no reason, just because it's funny" game haha) and voila! The join up signs! So I let her come in to me and we were done.
So on the plus side our lesson ended on a great note.
But still, I hate that I can't even really ride her without feeling like a jerk. And she needs so much exercise but I feel like I'm being a jerk to her joints for making her do so much circle stuff (at least the free lunging is more like square stuff...ahahahaha we're such squares!
). I feel like I can't win. I feel like I'm only setting her up for failure if I ask her to put her brain to work while her brain is going "run, run, RUN!!!", y'know? I wish her mind was the same age as her body, I really do.
Ah, I feel so much better now after getting all that out. Kudos to you guys if you read it all! *hands you your favorite cookie*