Another boring training update. I'll try to have more interesting stuff this week because it's spring break!!! :)
Firstly, I still cannot get over how far Greta and I have come. I cherish every time I hear her nicker when she sees me come down the aisle, how she'll come to me and acknowledge me in the pasture and the stall and on the lunge line (when asked), how much we just seem to enjoy each other. It makes me so happy.
Tonight, we warmed up in one of the pastures, just on a long rein, to change things up a bit. I love this particular pasture because it is big, it has some nice, gentle, but significant hills, smooth ground, and a little shallow (maybe ankle deep and that's when it's running high) creek running through it! I let Miss Greta walk back and forth through the creek a few times, going from the very narrow part to the wider part, and while she was wary but not too concerned about the creek the first time, it was no problem the next three times. Then onto the arena because it was getting dark.
Greta has always hated one particular corner of the arena, probably because there's either a wheel barrow there or several manure forks or, like there is now, several jump standards and some poles on the ground outside. She has always made a point of trying to really avoid that corner and counter-bending to make sure she can keep and eye and ear on it, making a big dip inwards at first, but now it's just during night when the lights are on that this corner is going to get her! Aw, I love my silly girl! I found tonight that if I sit get Greta into a nice, swinging trot that I can sit without being forced to bouncing, I'll go back to posting and then just sit that corner so I can push my inside hip into her like I do at the walk. So much easier!
And then the canter! We finished off our ride with a canter, first going to the left, which is her better side. We worked on getting into a more controlled canter first by using my seat more than my reins - my trainer has me canter her on a loose rein in a circle so I am forced to use my seat, and she'll canter on a loose rein without speeding up now! - before I go onto using my inside hip to try and get her to distribute her weight more evenly on the circle and not lean so far in like we're being flushed down a toliet bowl! While I'm doing all of this, we're also working on becoming more round at the canter too. Tonight, we worked on this going to the left, and that went fairly well, and then to the right.
She is difficult to pick up the right lead, so we're working on that too, but oddly enough, we had the most success going to the right! She did very well the first time around, but she fell into the trot, which was totally my fault because definitely did not prepare her for a transition! But she did very well at the canter, and despite the transition, she was still round at the trot! I walked her on a loose rein as a reward and then picked her back up again so we give the canter-trot transition one more go. I waited until she didn't lean so far in before we went back down the trot, and after about five times around on a large circle, I felt her back come up and support me more, she reached for the bit a bit more (no pun intended) and we weren't tilting inwards but just a little bit. I made her keep that one time around the circle, and then I prepared her for a trot transition, and this time she has such a smooth transition and retained her roundness at the trot! I trotted her twice around on a long rein, which she does so well at, and then a walk on a long rein and lots of pats!!
It all sounds too good to be true, right? Well, she has been shedding all of her white hair, if that counts as a complaint. (I think it's just one more reason to love spring, because they get that shiny summer coat again!) I try to shed her outside when I can: she gets to graze if she's been in for a while (we've had on and off rain but lots of beautiful, sunny, warm days in between) and the birds love the hair for their nests! Because she's had a blanket on most of the winter, she hasn't developed a really shaggy winter coat, and people ask me if I clipped her, but once they see the clumps of hair coming off, they realize I probably didn't clip her. It makes for a good grooming, and it cracks me up how she licks her lips the entire time. There, that's my complaint.