Saturday marked another lesson day. Des and I are working on restoring her spectacular lounging skills so for the lesson we concentrated on where she was ready to progress – riding. We had been walking with someone on a lead rope to help us and the lesson started out that way. Jodi on Des and me leading, then I detached the lead and walked along beside her, then Brianna joined and walked in front of Des with me on the side. Individually we would slowly stop, me first and a half lap later, Brianna. Until finally, Des was independent! After a couple laps of that, I got to hop on and experience a similar routine. During my few independent laps Destinee began to get bored and started testing. First she tested my guiding her by running my stirrup against the walls, then it was walking straight toward the hay and not listening. Both times I started with the realization that she didn’t know many cues and I should try to be as gentle as possible. Yet I ended these ‘tests’ with leg cues and reigning directions that I didn’t expect her to know but were more ‘automatic’ for me. True to her overachiever style, she understood and handled leg cues and seat cues way better than I could’ve imagined after such a few rides! She was ‘woah’ing for Jodi with no reign cues at all, only seat cues and even managed a good hind yield with leg cues and a bit of reigns.
Oops story of the week: Colleen and I were out training my girl and Des’ belly was covered in spring manure yuck. I decided that instead of getting my girth messy, I would slide on bareback. Ha. I knew it was stupid as I was doing it but I had faith that my little overachieving mare would be ok. Which may have in fact been the case, had she not been pointed at the bridge and had she not started walking before I settled in. She quickly moved into a trot and as soon as her last foot left the bridge we started cantering. I was close to finding my center of balance when we came upon the wall and Des tried a short stop/turn and off I went! Landing in a pile of dust on my back. Oh how funny her face was! We patted her, I apologized profusely and the saddle went on. Then up I went and she relaxed seemingly to say ‘See? Saddle THEN you, dummy. How did you forget that?’ And I’ve decided that bareback will be tackled again after we’ve mastered trotting and cantering WITH a saddle… Oh how funny this will seem in a couple years when we ride bareback more often than not. And MAN, what a nice canter she has! Even as an unbalanced nervous youngin’! Yay.