After a couple of days of walking (albeit not in the prescribed straight lines) I decided to ride Echo for a bit longer yesterday. She had been feeling quite tense when I was walking her. She didn't do anything silly, but it felt as if she were just humouring me really, and what she'd really like to do would be have a huge bug and race around. I'm quite glad she didn't!
It was very windy yesterday, so I rode her in the indoor school, which is great, but rattles a lot in the wind and she was already quite twitchy! I rode her in walk for a long time, trying to get her to take the contact forwards. The best way that I can describe the sensation she gave me, is like a coiled spring. She felt as if she had a lot of pent up energy. It was in danger of becoming a bit of a vicious circle: I didn't feel comfortable asking her to trot, because she hasn't trotted with a rider for a month and a half, but if I didn't trot, I was just prolonging the inevitable, and she would just have more energy!
I picked a calmer moment and asked her to trot. Needn't have worried (as usual!) as she was very good. The trot felt amazing. Her head carriage was good and she felt powerful and impressive. We had a couple of slight issues about speed, but she was obedient to my half-halts and I didn't feel unsafe. After a few torts on each rein, she still felt a little explosive and I knew that I was going to have the same mental issues about canter. I'm not technically supposed to be cantering yet, but I needed to just do a few strides, to reassure myself that she wouldn't do anything stupid. I asked her to canter and it was a messy transition (more out of Echo's surprise than anything, I think!) but successful. She did a funny leap in to canter and I think that if she had been a bit stronger she probably would have bucked!However, we kept the canter for a side of the arena, then she came obediently back to trot.
I feel like we are making a bit of progress now. She needs to build a lot of strength, as she has had a lot of time off. This doesn't seem to have done her any harm at all, other than a few issues in-hand. She has started being quite naughty to lead. Her field is very close to her stable, so she doesn't have to be led very far at all, in comparison to a few months ago, when she was a good ten minute walk from the yard. At the slightest distraction, she has started rearing and spinning around. It's funny - she doesn't pull on the lead rope at all - she doesn't seem to have any desire to get away from me, she is just full of herself. I think perhaps I need to do some ground work with her and re-establish a little respect. This is most unlike Echo, as she is normally so calm and well-behaved. Perhaps she is feeling like a true teenager!