Mocha and I have been schooling in the Pelham lately. With spring and all, she’s gotten a bit strong and opinionated, plus I did something to my left thumb and can barely bend it. So I needed to ride with two hands (not, not gonna try to teach myself to neck rein with the right hand, it would be far too confusing for a rather particular and precise mare. Ahem) while still using some curb elements–ergo, the Pelham.
But things are getting busy with Miscon coming up and various end-of-the-school year things. It’s a good time to back off a wee bit on conditioning and both of us catch our breath, then build back up with frequent short works, then lengthen them out with ground schooling work for bending and flexion.
Therefore, tonight we rode in the snaffle, and no boots. Boots to Mocha are a cue, we’re either going into the show ring or we’re doing a fairly light ride. She’s more relaxed and less on the muscle…but as I realized tonight, less on the muscle does not mean we’re not doing some high level stuff.
She lined out with lots of energy, and my first cue that–ahem–light work these days might mean something other than it used to was when she offered up lead changes on the rail when we usually do them during warmup. No drama, no fuss, just a lead change in response to an unconscious weight shift. Hmm. So I asked again, keeping the rein long, doing a light rein squeeze and leg. Change.
I didn’t ask for the change every two strides–that does get her hot and bothered–but we did calmly and serenely change every four or five strides. She remained relaxed throughout.
And from there we did a few fancy didoes and such, involving random direction changes and small voltes with lead and direction changes…girl sure seems to like that sort of work.
A good ride. Long rein throughout, I never really took up much of a contact, did most of our work by leg, seat, and leaning the rein on her neck. She remained soft in the hand and mellow, despite all the changes and twists and turns.
I think she really likes that kind of work.
Then afterward, a nice long grooming with lots of cookies for her and just a quiet, relaxing groove for the two of us. The sort of night horse people dream about.