Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 5 - On Top of the World

I had to plan on the fly yesterday. I realized as I headed to the barn that I hadn't taken the time to draw out my plan for my session with Cricket.

Because Wednesday's groundwork was unbelievably mediocre, I decided we needed a different direction to our online sessions. Since I'm trying very hard to adhere to the Patterns, I decided to go back to that for my groundwork. No more circle game until I reach that pattern in my progression. I decided to stay with Touch It and introduce Figure 8. For the riding, I wanted to continue with CS riding.

Cricket started asking some good questions on the Touch It. Not solid but good. My influence from farther distances is becoming more solid. I'm trying hard to be pleased and to be patient. After about five touches, we moved to the Figure 8. She was sloppy but I just presented the pattern and she started to respond. She gave me some nice trotting and good draw. I kept it short and ended on a positive note for both of us.

Saddling is still evoking ear-pinning. I'm still treating her GI tract and offering her cookies to help adjust her attitude. Everything else about her under saddle work is GREAT so I'm not going to get hung up on one thing. I'll just take note and see how it plays out.

We did just a bit of freestyle warm-up - walk and trot in both directions and a few bowties - before I picked up my CS. Again, I secured the reins and rode the rest of the session "hands off."

We are pushing the envelope of our CS riding - asking for turns, transitions, sideways, lateral flexion, bend to a stop, disengage, back-up. Last night was the first time we've ridden with other people in the arena. Even with nothing but my CS, Cricket did great.

The session ended with some short and sweet liberty play. One of the other boarders was riding and I don't like to feed while some one is riding if I can avoid it. So I hung out with Cricket in the arena, giving her scratches and cookies. I took her to the mounting block and played with FG from above Z3. She was relaxed and happy to be scratched all over. When her nose became interested in the cookies, I asked for a send around me. She gave a couple of quarter laps, stopping for cookies. I was pleased. I asked for a little more and she offered me her close range, jog trot circle game. First time we've gotten that in AGES!

What I took away from last night:
  • I need to work more on my body cues. The stick is great because I think it causes her to tune into my seat better than she was reinforcing my butt with the reins. But there are times I'm too quick with the stick. I need to be confident enough to stay soft and give her time to yield.
  • Cricket's liberty confidence is returning and I just need to be more aware and not screw it up again.
  • My confidence has been our main limiting factor. I need to trust my mare and allow her to trust me.

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