Now, this might be stating the obvious, because she's mine and I love her, but today I was just so over the moon with her.
The last few days I have been doing a bit of schooling, which has been going OK, although she's still been really heavy in my right hand, and we've also been hacking a bit too. We went out on our own for quite a long time earlier in the week, which was amazing. I cantered her all the way down this huge field and she was light and didn't pull at all. We even explored some paths we haven't been on before, which was really rewarding, as she wasn't as spooky as usual. We then went out with a friend yesterday, whose horse is quite reluctant to go in front, so Echo and I led all the way! We didn't canter, but I felt that we could have done and she would have been fine. I was so impressed with how much braver she is getting. And me!
Today I didn't ride til quite late in the evening and I had to go and get her from the field, as they'd already turned her out. As I walked down the track, she came over to the fence and wickered to me. Now, this probably has more to do with the fact that I always give her an apple or something when I first arrive, but the fact that she came over and seemed pleased to see me made me go all tingly!
It's weird, but the weather has been quite close today and when I first got on I felt quite light-headed. I had to really force myself to concentrate and I don't think I was riding as effectively as I could have been. However, I had worked very hard a couple of days ago on the right rein, really asking her to bend properly. I read an article by Carl Hester which said that you should spend 75% of your schooling time working on the side that your horse is stiff on - not always on that rein, but counter-flexing sometimes on the other rein. I made an effort to do this last time I schooled her and today I could really feel the difference. She was pretty good on the left rein (which I started on) but when I moved onto the right, she immediately felt more supple than she has done recently. When I put my inside leg on she didn't rush away from it - she felt fantastic, because when I put my inside leg on today, she really bent herself around it and this is the first time I've achieved this feeling from her.
Her right canter was really good too. I have been working on the things we did in our lesson with John last week, on really riding the canter and asking for connection using half-halts. She was really listening to me and not falling out through her outside shoulder. I ended up not schooling her for that long, as she went so well. I took her out for a walk round the cross country course to relax.
I am being a very good girl and making sure that I canter up hills as regularly as possible, to improve the strength in her right stifle. I cantered slowly up quite a long, gentle hill today, then decided to canter up my usual very steep, short one as well. The track is sand, so it's good in any weather and it really is steep. The first few times I could barely get her to trot up it; I used to have to really kick her on up it to get a canter. Not today though. As soon as I turned her to go up it and shortened my reins, she absolutely exploded. She took off at a hundred miles an hour! It's hard to tell whether I should let her do that. She's very good in that she stops as soon as we get to the top, with the lightest of aids, but she is obviously anticipating it now! I kind of think that she's enjoying herself and as she doesn't take off like that anywhere else when we canter, I can let her have her fun. Perhaps I will get her to walk up it a couple of times just to remind her that I dictate the pace! It's impressive how much stronger she has got recently though - she felt very powerful today.
I apologise for how gushing this post has been today, but I couldn't resist sharing how awesome my horse is!