I headed to the barn to work with Razz and hopefully get a riding lesson, but my RI had just left the barn and didn't know when she'd be back so I went ahead and worked Razz without her. My focus today was to get her to relax more under saddle and for me to keep my heels down the entire time I was riding. She was an angel for me, but that might have had something to do with the fact that I lunged her before I rode her. The last time I rode her (I didn't blog that one) I spent the entire lesson trying to get her to relax and walk calmly around the ring for one circuit. It could've been the weather that made her so high strung but she was spooking at every little thing, even if it had been sitting in the arena all year. I wasn't able to get her to walk through one corner, apparently there was something so scary in it that she had to buck and bolt away from it. Anyway, she only spooked once and other than that she did what I wanted her to, except relax at the trot. I don't understand it, am I too tense at the trot? Does she have some problem with trotting with a rider on her back? I'm not sure and it's confusing me. I actually watched her trot on the lungeline, she started out tense but soon relaxed. Maybe the saddle doesn't fit, I don't know or understand.
We seem to have gotten our rhythm back, I'm going to assume that it's because we were able to use the entire arena and not just a small part of it. She started the workout with a nice low head position and seemed ready to do what I asked. It appears that I managed to solve her moving away when mounting issue, although I'm still going to ask people to hold her head while I get on just in case. I think her problem was that she doesn't like the reins to be held while I get on because she associates the reins being held with work so she wouldn't wait until I got settled in because I was telling her it's work time. After spending all those long boring times working with her at standing still and me not poking her side when I get on are paying off, I hope this keeps up...as long as I don't mess it up again. All the times I've gotten on her when I'm not holding the reins she's been fine with standing still (I probably just jinxed my work, great).
I also worked a different horse while I was out there. I worked one of my most favorite horses (at least of those still living), Peach. Yes, I'm a little big for her, but she's stocky and didn't seem to mind. Working other horses is good for me, it makes me focus on my overall equitation on a horse that rides differently than Razz. Peach is a little ball of energy, which is what makes her so much fun. You constantly have to be focused on her because she likes to go, and go fast. Once I managed to kepp her walking at a steady, easy going pace I let her gait. She's a gaited Morgan, one of the reasons I love to ride her is because of her gait. Once she's in a faster pace she settles down even more. Sometimes it feels like she wants to break gait into a canter, but a half halt will easily take care of that idea. As I'm riding her and focusing on sitting her gait, I'm thinking, "It's no wonder Champ (Peach's only son) is so energetic and a handful, if anyone ever wondered they should ride his mom." Peach has had another colt that I'm aware of but he was a month overdue and ended up stillborn. Anyway, it felt great to ride her again, sometimes you just have to give in to nastalgia.
PS-Can anyone tell me how to check how well a saddle fits?
"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."