As the Pacific Northwet is doing its best to live up to its nickname these days, of course the moods seem to be matching it, horse and human alike. Quirky, grumbly, but still good for a work session.
When I got to the barn, once again Mocha was standing there with her tail in the bucket. Nice and relaxed, but her tail was living in her water bucket. Walked off as calm as could be, even when the wet tail hit her legs. There was a certain flicker of sarcastic amusement in her eyes when I opened the stall door. Clearly it’s meant to be some sort of horse joke. The expression is too much like that in the eyes of a middle school prankster. However, being a mere human, I’ve not the faintest clue what the joke is about.
We’ve run short on doing works over the past two weeks due to scheduling stuff, and it shows under saddle. She resisted softening up and coming onto the bit for the longest time, even though she was eager for the initial stretching. Well, heck, she’s probably a little stiff and achy with all this rain. I am too. So I kept pushing, kept asking for the bend at a walk, did two-track, half-halts, whoa-back, and finally we broke through the Wall O’ Stiffness. Suddenly she wasn’t fighting the rein but softly carrying the bit. A little bit at the walk, and I started asking for it at the trot, which was quite nice. She’s gone from “dear God this trot sucks” to having a quite nice sitting working trot.
But the nicest part of this afternoon’s session was moving from lightly collected lope to hand gallop and then back to it. I’ve been schooling this for the past few weeks and had the chance to try it while riding through a lesson. G had two little intermediate level kids who were working at all three gaits. Mocha and I did several circuits of collected lope and then we had to pick up the pace to squeeze out of a tight spot. I asked her for the gallop and she gave it. We continued round, then I asked her to come back into the collected lope without breaking.
She did it. Yay! Mocha gets pretty wound up at the gallop, especially after a lot of collected work and when working at that speed around other horses, but this afternoon she was very rateable and soft in the hand. I was very pleased with this state of affairs and we did it several times, quite nicely.
Not quite done with snaffle work at the moment. I am so very pleased with schooling in the latigo leather reins. The feel is more secure and when I have to take hold of Mocha’s mouth to lift a shoulder or correct her position, it’s steadier and much, much more effective. I’m able to use less pressure with the stiffer rein and I really do think it’s a better feel. In return, she seems to like these reins better now, and responds more effectively, with fewer objections or annoyed reactions. She just feels happier in my hand.
I do need to borrow G’s mullen mouth curb, though. I think she’s ready to move on from that correction curb, and it’s different enough that I think she could like it. If she does, then the trick is finding another one like it. It’s an Arab bit in size and weight, but she’s got an Arab-sized mouth with Arab-sensitivity to it. Could mean I spend a lot of time in tack shops checking out bit weights and balances over the next few months….