Yesterday morning’s ride was really good. It wasn’t really much different from Tuesday or Wednesday with the exception that Amber was absolutely ready to go. Literally. She walked away from her food as soon as I got her grooming bucket out and waited for me in her empty stall like she couldn’t wait to get out and work. At 6 in the morning.
At least one of us got enough sleep. And food.
I could only get in a short ride since I worked earlier than Wednesday, but we walked out there and she was ready – no lost focus or being careless about where her body was. Her focus would leave every now and then, but when I picked up the reins she was ready and waiting for what I’d ask. Good, sweet girl.
She was still a little labored in the trot work, but I had to work less to get a little more out of her, so I counted that as a win. Her good, flowing stride is hit or miss at the moment, but we hit it more often than not yesterday, and she was a lot more relaxed and willing to move into the contact. And of course, since she was being so good, I was a flop. I didn’t have the proper grip with my legs, kept tilting forward, my lower right leg was wobbly this time, a few chicken wings came back…you know, all great stuff. I did lower my stirrups for this ride, but the lower stirrups overall just seemed to help my upper body into better position (even though I sucked at it) and it also kept me from pushing into my stirrups too much and therefore driving my lower leg forward (which I still do because apparently my lower legs have minds of their own). But our canter is by far getting to be our best gait, so I’m excited for that.
She was superb to the left – great transition and just felt so so soft through her body. Her right lead was a little tougher yesterday than previous days, but she still tried. It wasn’t where I wanted to end the ride, but I had to go and she did try and it did get better so that’s fine. I was mostly just happy her attitude was more focused. Slowly but surely we make progress!
I haven’t noticed any more stumbling, so I may still try to do a raised pole or two this weekend. I’d really like to start doing a few things higher than poles. She shows confidence with them, and a desire to do things correctly, so I’d like to keep that going. I haven’t felt any heat or change in her legs even with her stumble last week, and she’s got some tendons of steel, so I think we’ll be okay to start trying higher things. We’ll play it by ear!