After last week's success, I ended up having to give Echo a few days off at the beginning of this week, so when it came to riding her on Wednesday, I wasn't sure what she would do. She had felt so tense and exuberant last week, that I knew there was something of a storm brewing inside that 'butter wouldn't melt' expression!
I decided to wimp out and lunge her instead of riding. I am so glad that I did! As soon as she got out onto the circle, she absolutely exploded. She bucked and leaped and twisted and cantered, all in a jumble. She is not balanced enough to canter and buck, so she has to jump about on the spot. I pushed her forward and she thundered round for about five minutes, looking as if she was thoroughly enjoying herself! When she finally came back to a steady trot, I have never seen such a contented expression on her face. It was as if she were saying, 'Thanks Mum - I needed that!'
I rode her very briefly yesterday, but there was so much going on that I couldn't stay in the school for very long, so only wandered around for about ten minutes. Today, I wasn't taking any chances, so I lunged before riding her. I expected a repeat of Wednesday's performance, but on the left rein she seemed quite calm. I decided just to get on and not bother lunging on the right rein. I don't want her to get too much into the habit of being lunged before riding, as we both might become a little dependent on it. Once I was on board, she was very good. She has to be reminded to concentrate, but after lots of half halts, she was listening fairly attentively.
Her trot has improved so much since she had her back done. She is much less on her forehand and is lovely and soft in the contact. I worked on getting her to stretch, then changed the rein. The right has become a bit more difficult. I am finding it tough to control her outside shoulder, hence steering is a little erratic! Once she was feeling more under control, I asked for canter in the corner. Little madam leaped in the air, stopped dead and stood there bucking her little heart out! She is so funny when she does this! I am amazed by how confident I feel riding her through these little outbursts, but I don't feel unseated (touch wood!) - it just feels...funny!
I pushed her into trot again, and went back onto the left rein. Once the trot was established, I asked for the canter again - I had already cantered her on the lunge on the left rein, so thought this might be fine. She was perfect - the canter was steady and relaxed. Thinking that this might have improved the situation, I changed the rein again and asked for canter to the right. It wasn't exactly great, but it would do! She kept striking off on the wrong leg, but she didn't buck, which at that particular moment, was what I was most interested in! I decided not to persist with the transitions, as I had achieved what I wanted to!
It was such a beautiful day. She got very hot when I was riding, so I gave her a bath and shampooed her mane - it has been couped up under a neck rug all winter, so was quite greasy and horrid. Just as I was about to tie her in the yard to dry off, the horse that lives in her field in the day time came in and she was able to be turned out. I led her down to the field and she was behaving very strangely! I didn't put a rug on, as she was wet and it is supposed to be a warm night. We were about ten yards from the gate of her field and her knees wobbled and buckled, and she got down and rolled! Right in the middle of the path, in the sand. Lovely - wet horse rolling in sand... might take me a while to groom her! I love that though, seeing her having a good scratch. We don't give them enough chances to be completely natural.