Yesterday was a very good day. I spoke to my Pilates instructor about my issues with riding Cricket's left lead on the circle. I went through a series of exercises and I have a slight issue with the way my hip and shoulder work together when I need to activate my left side. I can isolate either with excellent stability but when I have to use both, I tend to allow my hip to drift up rather than keeping balance through the left side. It's very subtle and it explains a lot.
Heading out to the barn, I decided to ride and just focus on sinking both hips down and allowing my body to operate in greater balance.
I started out with some liberty in the arena. Cricket's connection and draw have gone through the roof in the past couple of days. I've started insisting she draw to me. It's not mean or mad but it's telling my very dominant and opinionated horse that my ideas are more important than she wants to think they are. I've been pushing energy behind the drive line and causing her to draw at a trot. It's been the ticket to our liberty issues. She is much more keen to come and to do so with effort. It's even causing her to draw back when she's out of range of the stick and string.
I saddled at liberty. Cricket was squirmy but more because she wanted to back up to get the cookies. I think I'm going to do more target training with her to help her "park" for saddling.
During our warm-up, I found just how un-connected she is to my seat for walk-trot transitions. She'll go up just fine but then won't come back down. This is the only time she doesn't listen to my seat. When we canter, she's easy to move back to the trot or halt. I'm not sure what is going on. This might warrant a call to the Gold Hotline.
I decided to put her on the Question Box to work on the transitions. She was pretty hot to canter so I kept her at the walk and trot until she relaxed. She was a little pissy - she's in season and I try to be understanding that riding isn't her favorite thing during her heat cycle. She offered the left lead and I decided to take it. We did a couple turns at the canter with my trying to settle into her rhythm. It wasn't great but neither was it a total disaster. I dismounted while I felt good about the whole thing.
I untacked her and decided to hang out with some more liberty. At one point we had the sweetest circle game going at walk, trot and canter. It's been so long since she's offered to circle at liberty in the arena. She broke away twice but some energy at Z4 and she was right back with me.
I did a little bareback mounting friendly - jumping up, getting on and then immediately sliding off the other side. I'm not sure what she thought of the process but I was giggling the whole time. She was completely nekkid and she was a champ.
The end of our session was me sitting on the pedestal and her just hanging with me. It was some very sweet, intimate moments. Man, I love this horse!