The last few weeks have been a dream with Cholula. I feel like suddenly we’re making a ton of progress with her strength and self carriage. She tries really hard at everything. No…she doesn’t just try; she does everything I ask, to the best of her ability — sometimes even really well.
We are riding the highs right now.
There are new raised cavaletti at the barn, so we’ve been using them. First at the walk – she works better through these than the 1/2 raised poles, for whatever reason. Then, over the weekend they were spread out in the outdoor in a mini course. She picks up her feet over these. Trotting, first. Eventually I gave her a little more room to think and decide, so she started jumping them here and there. Modestly.
We had a meeting beforehand to discuss why it’s ok to go over small obstacles reasonably, and that not everything has to be a 2’6″ jump.
Eventually she decided the line of 2 cavaletti was an obvious choice for jumping. Jump over the first, land in a canter, canter to the 2nd, jump.
She was happy, she never refused anything or even tried to duck out. In fact, the second day I planned things poorly and she steered herself back to go over the cavaletti, rather than around it.
At one point I was walking her out. Turned her towards the barn…not necessarily to end the ride, just walking in that direction. I wasn’t concerned about where we went, so when she opted to turn around and walk away from the barn? Ok, fine. She’s been doing more of that lately when I let her choose the adventure. She wants to explore and keep going – so long as we are outside of the covered arena. She’s becoming braver and in some respects, more independent. But always with an ear flicked back, listening.
The canter progress is slower to see and to feel, but it’s there. I think.
On Sunday she was so elevated in the front, sitting and light after a few rounds of the cavaletti course, so I brought her to the mirror in the covered arena and asked for a few half-steps. Piaffe has always blown apart her brain a little bit, but she thought really hard and gave me a few steps.
I need to work on my light seat. Shoulders. Back. Yuck. Having a video camera that you can pull stills off of after filming yourself for a ride? SUCH a useful tool. But I definitely cringed a little looking at those. It didn’t feel like it looked that bad!
I also need to figure out this video editing software I downloaded, so I can break up the hour of clinic video. (You know, somewhere in between putting my apartment together, cleaning for my guests in a little over a week, meal prep for the next week, taxes, riding, Crossfit, and spending time with that person that I moved down here to live with. So maybe this weekend?)