I have not ridden much this week. When I rode on Monday, my confidence was rattled. Cricket was forward to the point of impulsive. I'm not used to this side of my little mare. The whole thing was made worse by the fact that I failed, as a leader, to address the horse that showed up and I just kept waiting for the horse I had on Saturday.
I've puttered with Cricket - keeping to my goal of 30 sessions in 30 days. I do feel that she is more connected to me so I'm pleased with our progress. But the primary reason for this program was to push our riding further.
I took a lesson from my best friend and fellow PNH student yesterday. I gained two wonderful insights from the lesson:
- When Cricket is "racing" around the arena, she is simply in a lovely forward working trot. This is not something I'm used to and it feels fast and slightly out of control.
- I'm not breathing.
The breathing thing was a big deal. Apparently in my apprehension over what Cricket was doing, I started holding my breath. When I took a circuit around the arena focused on the intake and release of air, my little mare dropped her head, eased her pace and blew out.
I am such a silly girl! I know, from my Pilates, the importance of the breath. I know, from my Parelli, that my horse is my mirror. No wonder she's racing around to find a stopping point - she's not breathing either!
The very cool thing that happened during the lesson - Cricket began offering canter under saddle. She hasn't done this in a long, long time. I know it's a sign that she's taking over the gas pedal. I know she's breaking her responsibility to maintain gait. I DON'T CARE! I love that my mare is freeing up and feeling comfortable with upward transitions. The first time she did it I rode the canter and couldn't figure out how exactly to react: get upset, stop her, encourage her, ride it until she stops. I was elated that she did it at all. The second time, I rode the canter and then eased her back to the trot. The third time I don't remember - I think we came down to the halt.
The challenge is to ask for those upward transitions and have her respond with the same softness.