The best part of this whole new adventure is having Shiraz at a boarding stable with an indoor -- and that has happened this past weekend! I brought her on Sunday, lunged in the arena and showed her all the things, then lunged again on Monday.
Tuesday I had scheduled a lesson with my coach K from the previous indoor I had been trailering to. She was gracious enough to agree to drive over to the new place and continue our lessons. It possibly may have been a bit ambitious to schedule a lesson that soon, but I wanted to hit the ground running and make up for a failed winter plan of making progress with Shiraz.
|Look how relaxed she looks just lunging...hhmph.|
|The "Why have you brought me here" look|
|Shiraz thinks her new boyfriend is perfect! He does whatever she tells him to.|
|My yak post ride -- she worked out her angst through much rolling in the straw|
It was incredibly cool to see that I could settle her head movements with my legs. Every time Shiraz wanted to suck back, or drift to the exit, or throw her head around in a fit, it was completely fixable with inside leg, outside hip bone and eyes focused on the next spot in the circle. Bit by bit I could feel her back unknotting and I allowed the reins to lengthen until she was trotting with her head stretched down and she started breathing. This state took 45 minutes to get and I am so happy to say that I spent most of the ride completely relaxed (except for that first 10 minutes of jiggidy jig--that space right there I was certain we were all going to die).
It was a great lesson--yes we just trotted a 20-meter circle basically for an hour but there was a lot accomplished. Shiraz was throwing every doubt question at me and with K's help I was able to answer all of those questions plus show her that dirty threats (like telling me she wanted to rear or buck many times) were not an option. And the best part, it was done with soft but consistent focus and leg support rather than a harsher correction.
I am looking forward to my next ride on my own. I will definitely be spending a lot more time doing ground work before I get on so hopefully she will not be that tense for the next ride. But, even if she is, I think we'll be okay.