Exciting stuff happening. First, I got on Missy again. I got on about a week or so ago, and she wasn't ready. Didn't do anything bad, just didn't understand anything I was asking and acted like she might go up, so I got off. J has been teaching me some round penning stuff, which was super cool, and it helped Missy mentally. I could have ridden her last Friday, but we were putting a horse down and I know better than to ride when I'm upset. Then a clinic Saturday, and family in town yesterday, pretty much took up all of my time. So, today we rode. She stood mostly still while I tacked up (something to work on. She's a smidge girthy), and accepted the bit. I worked with her with the bit on the ground for a few minutes, then got on and off a couple of times.
And then... we went riding! Well, we did some circles in the round pen. She was nervous when I first got on, but I just had her stand for a few minutes. When we first started walking around she was very bracey and kept trying to stop. Every time she tried to turn or stop, I asked her to move her hips over (that's what we had been doing in the round pen). She got over that pretty quickly, and we went around four or five times each direction without any resistance. Tomorrow's plan is to ride a little bit longer, keep her soft, and get a trot.
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I really like the work I'm doing with her. She is just such a sweet mare. I wish I had started riding sooner, but I'm learning about different training processes and it's pretty fascinating. The more I work with J and watch him ride, the more I really like him. I mean, I love HF, but it's so cool to be able to talk about everything with him. My best friends are trainers too, but I know their opinion about everything already, and we grew up essentially the same, and their interests are very much in reining, while mine are in ranch-type stuff. Today, J and I had a great conversation about when and how it's appropriate to teach lateral flexion, and how not to 'overflex'. We also talked about spade bits and training bridle horses (his old boss trained a few but he never has) and Ray Hunt and the Dorrance brothers (he's lending me a Ray Hunt's book). It's just so COOL. I've never had that constant feedback and talked different methods and books with an actual person (my best friends who train, and do a very good job, aren't much into reading. I go to them for advice on teaching spins and stops and more technical stuff), and he and I agree on pretty much everything.