Firstly, I want to say that my favorite pictures are the first and last ones. ADORO!! Secondly, I'm letting her whiskers grow out because she needs them, but I do clip her ears and jaw and all for neatness sake. They also look quite cute. Thirdly, I want to say that I roached the girl's mane. Long story why, just go with it. She has a lovely neck, it keeps the mane out of the way, and if I decide to let it grow back out, then I will actually train it this time to lie flat on one side. She doesn't seem to mind, although I saw when she was sniffing her clumps of mane I so neatly bundled as I cut them off (I'll find a way to use them somehow!) she seemed to be forlornly sniffing it. Maybe I was imagining it, but geez! Way to make me feel guilty now, Greta! Peppermints and apples seem to take her mind off it though.
Secondly, I want to say that riding has been going very well lately. We had a lesson Saturday, and got a few steps of amazing "graceful bounciness" as I so descriptively put it. It was not that bounciness of when one is first learning to sit the trot, it was the most amazingly controlled and most wonderful to sit bounciness, like I was riding a piaffe or something. And I felt Greta's hind end surge underneath her and my reins go a bit loose as she held her head all by herself! I asked for a half-halt to keep that energy for a few more steps, and she kept them for a few more steps until she thought, "DAMN THAT WAS HARD!" I also fell off on this lesson: I got so focused on my position, and Greta did a spooking-side-shuffle, and I just kind of slid off. Laura said she heard me utter a squeak as I lost my breath haha! But I got back on quickly and continued our sitting trot work. We had a lesson to do, afterall!
Yesterday, and I feel this was because I didn't warm her up a much as I could have, Greta felt very tense and I could tell because of this she was worried about stuff, and very fussy about our surroundings. It was just one of those things that we focused more on our turns on the forehand and haunches to get her mind off things, and do some spiraling in and out, all of which engaged everything that could be engaged so she looked and felt lovely. Mostly walk work. She was tense enough it felt like I was riding an oak barrel and I had tough time keep my seat balanced as I tried to compensate for that!
Today went much better, as I learned my lesson and warmed her up longer and bit more extensively. And then we topped it off with some straightness work. I would have her come off the rail and down the centerline and try and keep her as straight as possible by controlling her shoulders. We did this on the quarter lines and diagonals and along the rail as well, just keeping her straight without tilting her head one way or another or floating off one way or another! Bless her, she did well. Then I threw in some halts and half-halts to change things up a bit, and to stimulate what would happen in a test. We ended on a nice halt, a big pat, and then I walked around the arena while she followed me, ears forward, eyes bright. I then tried a halter class pattern, for grins and giggles, and she did well.
Now, sometimes I feel like perhaps I focus too much on riding sometimes. As much as we're progressing, Greta is not a robot and certainly not a means to the end, so I don't want to treat her that way. She is does like her job, though, and I can tell she gets into it and likes to work and likes to save the snuggles for later, but she still does need to be allowed snuggle room. I want to do more bonding stuff with her. Seeing how she followed me around everywhere today, I don't feel that she doesn't think I'm her girl or anything, but I do wonder if I get a bit too workmanlike for her sometimes, y'know? I want to try out sport massage on her (I'm sure she'll appreciate that) work on loading, and maybe teach her some tricks? I dunno, more bonding stuff. She lets me hold her head when she's lying down and napping, and she comes to me when I go to catch her, she doesn't really try and test me on the ground or under saddle for the most part, so I will say that I've got it very well with her. She's quite a gem, I just want to make sure she sparkles as bright as possible.
Capstone Saddlery is coming out Saturday morning to fit Miss Greta! And I've decided that, if the Wintec is no longer right, and if it is possible, I want to go for some brown tack! Yes, it is legal in dressage, I have amazingly been able to find some wonderful deals on girths and bridles, and I think it would look lovely on Greta, plus no black dye to rub off my pantalones! So, why not?
Really, we just need a saddle that fits and is within price range. Color and snazzy-ness will come second.