Back in the dressage saddle yesterday evening, equipped with a new girth sleeve in the hopes that Miss Sensitive wouldn't get cut by the girth buckles behind her leg/ochster area. I also placed some vaseline over the almost healed cuts she got last week - something between those two things worked as, happy days, no new marks last night!
We did mostly walk and trot work with some transitions between the two - but concentrated mostly on circles, rein changes, figures of eight and serpentines with small circles at each loop. As Miss Kika decided that there was something terrifying about one of the longsides of the arena on the left rein and despite our working on an inside track and not up against the side, she couldn't possibly pass that side without eyes on stalks, giraffe-impressions with head in the air and sidestepping - making a general nuisance of herself and disrupting what up till then and everywhere but there was nice work...*roll-eyes*
However this extreme reaction only occured on one rein and only when asked to travel the length of the long side in a straight line, when changing rein, circling and serpentining there was absolutely no objections from her when passing the same spot - silly sod was just taking the mick!
So I ignored her, kept my cool and worked on anything and everything - twisting & turning to keep her guessing and mind away from spooky sides. It worked a treat and she settled down into some nice work including smooth circles large and small where I was better able to guide with my outside aids...baby steps and we'll get there - I hope!
As we were doing so well I bit the bullet and attempted some canter. As always started off with the worst side, first strike off was incorrect but brought her back to trot, settled, rebalanced and tried again - result! It worked, cantered a couple of circles trying to coax her into a better shape - got it for a few strides, pushed again and lost it so came back to trot and started again. We got the strike off right first go next time, continued on our circles making them larger and smaller - spiralling slightly...didn't get as nice a shape as I have in recent attempts but as strike off was right not going to cry over the little things.
Changed direction onto our better rein and had no problems with a couple of circles on that side - she doesn't even lean anymore on that rein which had been a problem before, hopefully she is better learning to carry herself on that side - the difference in her canter on each rein is like night and day...I really hope I can keep working at our bad side and bring both reins closer together in our canter execution.
I won't lie and say that I was overjoyed with our session, as I was disappointed in her messing and pretending to be scared of the long side - but in thinking about it as I went to sleep last night I realised I was (as usual) being too hard on myself and my horse.
We did really well considering 6-12months ago such messing could have completely derailed the whole schooling session - but I managed to keep my head and go back to the things we can do without too much trouble and re-focused both of our attentions away from what was causing hassle.
I was actually touched as a friend who had been getting a lesson when I joined the arena came back while I was still riding to clean up after her horse (yard rule is clean up horse droppings after you've ridden) and said that she thought Kika has been going well of late. She also watched our jumping lesson last Wednesday and said that she'd been meaning to say it to me since then!
Fingers crossed that we're well on the road to better riding and don't slip back into bad habits!
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