Horse had a rather disgusted look on her face when I showed up…it’s always interesting to see her reaction when I’ve been away for a week or so. Either she’s very demanding of attention and work or she’s mad at me for being gone and is sulky. Tonight started out sulky, but she was easily persuaded to perk up with treats and brushing. Hard to say which one she likes best, especially when she’s still shedding the winter hair.
Cool weather meant she hung back a wee bit at the beginning, so I picked up a crop. Funny how that changes her attitude–don’t need to use it, just need to carry it. And then she moves right up. I also will use it as a tapping cue to get her to back off of my leg a little bit, and she was responsive to that.
All the same, outside of a little stiffness when asked to bend on the right rein, she did pretty well for an unanticipated layoff (due to son’s illness). She was ready to dig in and work, so work we did. Lots of two-track at walk and trot, plus lots of sitting trot with good impulsion. Some high-headed bracing at the beginning, but she eventually softened a little (not a lot, I don’t expect a lot after a layoff) and we played with legs and half-halt to get forward and impulsion. Then we went to collected canter (well, semi-collected tonight) and gallop, which she enjoyed immensely. And! While our first couple of sessions of canter back from gallop weren’t as immediate as I would like, toward the end she was decelerating almost as fast as she can accelerate. Which is pretty dang fast, considering how she shoots ahead when I lean forward and bring my hands forward.
Still like to get her on a track someday and see what it’d feel like to ask her to sprint all out for a quarter mile. While she’s mostly Doc Bar (Doc O’Lena and Gay Bar King), there’s some Leo in there as well….and girl can run when she wants. She’s got a pretty good engine in that hind end.
At the end she felt pretty good about her work, lining out on the long rein in her big, free-swinging swagger walk that could rival a Thoroughbred’s in its reach. Back swaying, stepping deep under herself…going somewhere, head long and low, ears forward. It’s a pleasure to ride and from what I can see of her expression, a gait she truly enjoys. That big relaxed swinging walk of hers is so much fun to sit and she does it after she’s had a good workout and seems to feel good about it.
A good horse night. Satisfying without being weird. Both of us got a productive workout and we pretty much just focused on conditioning and fine-tuning our cues. Doesn’t get much better than that.