I have been so useless at posting recently - I shall endeavour to do better from now on. As some of you may know, things have not been terribly easy over the last few months, but I have now moved into a new house with a friend and am having a really good time. In addition to this, Echo had over a month off with a bad back and has only recently come back into work, so things have been pretty quiet with her for a while.
However...things are getting hugely better - Echo is now sound and back in work, so I am getting to ride a lot more regularly and we are getting back somewhere near to where we were before it all went a bit wrong! Even when I first started riding her again, it was rather sporadic and I was finding that every time I got on she was ridiculously tense and felt as if she was going to explode. I am starting to get used to this feeling and not be worried by it - instead I just ride her forwards and wait for her to relax! I have been able to ride her much more regularly recently so she is starting to really get back into it now, and we have less of the explosive tendencies!
I even felt secure enough to hack her out yesterday, which is quite brave for me, considering she is hyperactive at the moment and hasn't hacked out since February! She has been ridden every day this week, and has been going really well; I rode her on a little loop round the cross country course on her own after a schooling session on Saturday and she was fine, so I decided to just go for it! We went out with a horse that we haven't hacked with before, but is reasonably old and knows what he's doing. He likes to lead, so that suited us well. I only really wanted a slow hack, as she hasn't been out for so long, but in the end it was so wet that we couldn't do more than walk and trot anyway. It was a very successful outing; she was spooky on the way out of the yard - the wheelie-bins were obviously housing some very scary monsters, but when we got going she was fine. The trots felt...powerful. I wouldn't have wanted to canter that day, as she wasn't really taking a contact and was pinging forwards very boldly. I think a canter might have somewhat blown her brains...but next time, definitely!
Schooling wise, she is going pretty well. I am having issues getting her to take weight on her hind legs, but can't remember if it is any more of a problem than before she had her back problems. Her hind legs just feel really weak - I can't really describe it better than that. I suppose she has had a lot of time off and has grown a bit too, so there are bound to be some changes, but I have been working quite hard to get her to use her back end. I've been doing lots of transitions to lighten her forehand and have been asking for some steps of leg-yielding. It does seem to be improving, as I lunged her last week and her transitions looked much stronger than they had done a couple of weeks previously.
My other niggle is with her outside contact on the right rein. I have real problems riding her from inside leg to outside rein when on the right. This seems to be a left side problem, as she is reluctant to take the contact forward on the inside when on the left rein too. I don't really know why this is. The leg-yielding has been helping, but I find that when I change the rein I lose all ability to bend her correctly! I think it will be something that comes with time. I am also having a lesson with John tomorrow, so it is highly likely that he will point out the problem within a minute or two, and make me feel thoroughly stupid for not realising what it was, as it was so glaringly obvious! That's what usually happens, anyway! We haven't had a lesson since January, so I am a little apprehensive, but very excited at the same time!
My lessons always leave me with LOTS to think about, so I will no doubt voice my thoughts on here tomorrow!