Here it is March 15, 2017, and I'm only on Day 31 of my 100 Day Challenge. If you remember, I started the year out gangbusters--riding in the snow, training Beautiful Girl, & attending clinics. But despite that great start, I'm at about the same number of days as I was in 2016.
That's why it's always wise to make hay while the shines--because, there will be plenty of days when it won't.
Day 30 with Leah was interesting. I rode her and she was very racy--wanting to break out into a trot all the time. Then, I asked her for the lope, and she would have NONE of it. Instead, she pinned her ears back and started to offer a buck.
I wondered to myself, "Hmmmm....what's the deal? Is she scared? In pain?"
So, I finished my ride and grabbed the lunge line. Sure enough, when I asked her to lope from the ground, she'd just start running around like Speedy Gonzales...
Race, race, race, slip, race, race, race, race, slip, and so on.
She was definitely anxious, and it was making me nervous watching her. Then, just when I was about to quit asking her for it, she slowed down and carried herself in a gentle, controlled lope. She did one lap, and I stopped her and PRAISED her. I asked again, she repeated the performance for a lap, I stopped her and praised her again. We did that both directions until she was rather sweaty (something I had tried to avoid), so we went in and finished the day with T-Touch massage.
Day 31 (Today)
Motto: Never let a good flood go to waste!
Leah and I started out our day walking through the
Next, I took Leah to the arena where, by the way, the footing is very good with the deep sand we put in last year. I asked her to lope on the 25' line I purchased yesterday--a heavy-duty, yacht rope--to replace my thinner 25' lunge line. (The heavy yacht rope was hard to get used to, but may be better.)
Leah did GREAT! She remembered her lesson and gave me the most controlled little lope, right from the get-go! She went 'round and 'round and 'round. There were a couple times she slipped a little bit, but whenever she came to that point in the circle, she'd pay extra close attention to the ground and her feet, and she'd self-correct!
My, do you know how happy that made me to see my girl carry herself like that?!?!? It gives me hope!
After the lunge work, I rode her bareback for about 20 minutes. We worked on walk-trot transitions and she wasn't nearly as racy at the trot today. I have found that I LOVE riding her bareback. It is making me a much better rider--developing my core balance. I have a ways to go to be really good at it, but I realized as I was doing it--I had a HUGE smile on my face. I'd probably had it from the moment I hopped on her back. It was utter joy the whole time. Maybe it's the connection? Maybe the excitement of mastering a new skill? Maybe a lot of things rolled into one.
Things are looking up for Leah and me!