Since Amber did absolutely super on Friday with the single pole, I decided to switch things up yesterday. I moved around the few poles that we had and made a “course” of sorts to start to give Amber a little more of a challenge. Since today was a long work day, it was a short, introductory ride.
So my plan developed that I’d stay on one lead this time. I’d hit the middle one first, then the one closest in the picture before arcing to the farthest pole and then finally a small arc to the pole on the left of the picture. Perhaps a little challenging, but that’s why these are poles and not jumps ha!
Well she warmed up her usual lazy self, which I’ve decided if I hop on and she’s like this for a show I just shouldn’t do anything and just go into the ring. Because once we hit a breather and then continue, she gets a bit flustered and cantering is on her brain. Which is fine, we just like calm in dressage lol. But she’s always so willing – I love this little tank. Her warm up canter was like magic too. She’s really beginning to understand what I’d like from her paces. We’ve got about 6 really excellent strides down, now just to keep plugging.
After I was able to get her a little more through in her short fast-jiggy-we-go trot I asked her to canter and it was just wheeeeee! from her. Which made me laugh. But it was so damn adorable because I turned her towards one of the poles, and her head shot up (well, as high as her head goes which is really not that high) and her ears perked forward and she was just on to that pole. It filled me with giddiness. She was a little surprised we crossed another pole, and was a bit confused like “well, I thought maybe one, ma…? We do more? Ooookay….”
But the best thing, was her surprise auto change to the left. I looked at my mom and asked her if Amber had really changed because I thought I felt it but you know, I could absolutely be dreaming. Sure enough, she auto changed to the left not once but twice. I think I’m still in shock. I was not expecting that out of her. She can do it herself on the lunge line but we all know that that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll transfer to under saddle. But bless her little heart she did it, and kept on plugging, hopping over those poles.
I decided to wing it and see if she’d do it the right, but she got a bit behind my leg and trotted a few steps before cantering off on the right lead. Still, she knew exactly what I was thinking; this little pony’s try is always 100%. I didn’t press it, just laughed off, did a little collection at the end and called it quits. I just absolutely love how she locked on to the poles like “omg this again WHEEEEE!” and then she thought “oh shit I think I really have to work through these” lol.
The bending line was a little tough for her, but after a misstep she was super with her feet. When she thinks she makes mistakes she flicks an ear back at me like “did I do the right thing, ma? was that wrong?” and I’ve really just been trying to let her find her feet, praise her tons for it so she knows she did okay, and she seems to be really responding. She doesn’t like it when the distance isn’t good or she’s got a weird stride (which I like – should create a desire for her to jump correct?), but she always tries and then if she doesn’t get it right makes sure she gets it right the next time. Such a smart mare.
This is also just so much fun to see and feel how much fun she’s having. I think she’s been worried she’ll still hurt, and we’ll just be doing the same old same old and she won’t like the arena, but she’s slowly realizing she’s not hurting anymore, we’re doing new things and she’s out in the open again. I’m just hoping when the real jumping begins, she takes just as much of a liking to it. And I think she will. We’ll keep chugging!