Big, scary doors were conquered today! I lucked out and it was quiet in the ring. Two boarders were cooling out and no one else! What a treat! We worked on rhythm, impulsion and straightness. In the beginning I was using the full track and as we passed the center doorway my horse side stepped. I immediately turned her and made another pass. I wasn’t quick enough with my inside leg though and she shied again. Repeat. This time we made it pass the door. I took her all the way around the track concentrating on the trot, saying 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 under my breathe. This time just as we reached the door I felt a tiny twitch and I was able to tap her slightly with my inside leg and on we went. I gave her huge amounts of praise and pats on the neck for making it past the big, scary door. My instructor and a boarder both smiled at my lavish praise.

After that it was off to work on straightness by riding the quarterline. A real test with this horse. If you aren’t riding both sides she heads for the wall. It attracts her like a magnet. In no time she was nice and relaxed and stretching down. I was turning her the subtlest use of inside rein and leg. All the while I was saying 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 under my breathe as a reminder to pay attention to the rhythm and to BREATHE. She was so different from last week.

Then it was time to canter down the long side. I usually canter her in circles so this was different for both of us. Our canter depart was fairly good. She didn’t hollow her back at all. On our second attempt I was able to apply my inside leg into the outside rein. WOW! She rounded up and was in front of my leg. I’ve never ridden her in a canter like that…wow!

After my lesson I was chatting with a friend who mentioned that one of the owners may only use the mare for low level riders. They think that she’s having trouble because I (and others) are asking too much of her and that it hurts her muscles. If they take her away I don’t know what’s left for me to ride. The school master is sick and in the past the mare was a higher level horse. I don’t know if this is a compliment or a kick in the teeth.

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