Mochi gettin' it earlier this week.
Mochi has just been awesome lately. We have really been putting in some dedication, and it is showing. I HAVE to get some video of her soon, but...the Other Half is going out of town tomorrow for two weeks for work. That means I have no one to take video. Booo.
I rode with my dressage instructor for a long hack last weekend. I talked with her about just how to go about starting work on Mochi's canter. Sounds easy right? Just start cantering. Not on this little horse that requires you to ride every stride and be in control of each of your body parts independently at all times. Without careful management, Mochs will just flail and be out of balance aka never develop a pure, balanced, correct canter. She suggested it's time for Mochs to learn haunches in and begin learning to load her hind end. So we started working on that on our hack. We also made progress on that hack with getting Moch settled back in after cantering. She will get all wound up after the down transition but on that hack we got her to calm it down, trot nicely, get back in balance and be ready for another transition.
I have noticed lately too on our rides at home that she is starting to come back to where she needs to be after down transitions. That is one more thing I think that is a combination of reflections of her past and her lack of balance. As she gets stronger with correct, regular training and as she also learns that there is nothing to get so wound up about after cantering she is calming down. Somebody must have been rough with her at some point. She has some serious anxiety like she is expecting something bad to happen. My instructor sees it too and thinks she acts slightly scared. She is on the same page with me about just letting her take her time and realize nothing bad is going to happen. Today after some canter work Moch was having a rough patch with getting connection again and my instructor told me to just to transition to the walk and make her chill and take a breather. She was better after her little breather. She had to walk correctly though, it wasn't a throw away the contact walk. I have to do the same with Klein sometimes. Only Klein's problem is she will get frustrated with something like learning a new movement and I have to just let her walk for a minute and have a breather. After a few minutes we come back to what we were working on and she's fine.
In our lesson today we worked on straightness in our leg yields at the walk, getting even contact, better contact, counter flexion (i.e. starting to teach her that her neck or hindquarters doesn't always have to be in line), and we started real work on our canter. Um, milestone! Four months ago this mare couldn't go around the ring at a balanced trot.
Today we discovered Mochs goes better when you have some pressure on with your upper leg. She was much more into the contact and even on both reins with some extra support. We had some nice trot work. Our instructor even said she had a really nice trot today. Yes, sweet validation.
It came time to work on the canter and we got a nice trot going on, waiting until she was balanced, then I'd ask. Mochs was being pretty good. I really had to keep my outside hand low and get her into the outside rein. She got it though. After a few trot-canter transitions my instructor suggested we canter from the walk. Mochi definitely had an easier time into the canter from the walk. I got a couple nice transitions down to the trot as well. The trick is to really squeeze her down into transitions. Mochs surprised us both.
Her canter also is a balancing, multi-tasking ride for me. My instructor is like "Go smaller with your seat! Smaller! Smaller!" and when I do Mochs is like "Oh ok I can transition down." No pony, you can't. So, I have to keep make sure to keep my leg ON while going smaller with my seat to get her to connect. She got it after a couple times of breaking to the trot and me putting her right back in the canter. She understands the difference between going smaller with your seat and the actual aid for a down transition. She catches on quick, thankfully. I love mares. Say what you want about mares, but they are awesome and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
From earlier this week.
Also, when she tried to giraffe today, by not touching her with my hands and just pushing her into the bridle she got back into balance much faster. It's such an easy, basic thing, but sometimes I am not as consistent as I should be and today during our lesson I noticed it was my immediate reaction every time. It's starting to sink it and become an automatic reaction that should have been there already.
Giraffing before our lesson today. This is me trying to explain to her that she has a great giraffe impression but it's really not appropriate for POA's, and that I've never seen a POA out on the Serengeti.
I'll get a couple strides of the picture above and that's when the whole squeeze her back into the bridle thing comes in. In that pic above my leg isn't where it should be and my hands aren't either. My hand (especially on the outside rein) should be lower and my leg should be at the girth with contact all the way down. We fixed this today.
I am super excited to work on our homework. When the Other Half comes back from his work trip we WILL get video!
We continue to hack at least twice a week. Here is from yesterday morning's seven mile hack. We saw a Bald Eagle fishing out of the lake that morning. Pretty awesome.
I also bought Mochs a Micklem. She obviously must be pretty comfy in it, as demonstrated below.
Pony sooooo sleepy. She hadn't even done anything yet!