On Sunday I trotted Cricket for one mile. Literally. Ed (good friend and barn owner) measured out our arena and determined that thirteen laps was the equivalent of one mile. And Cricket and I trotted thirteen circuits around the arena. It was pretty cool!
In all our previous riding sessions, Cricket has been very much out of harmony with me. Asking her up to the trot produces an often bracey, high head and racy movement. The only way I can keep her connected is to do very short yo-yos using walk to trot (three strides) to walk transitions. I was beginning to lose confidence in all I accomplished last fall. I was bummed but okay with starting over (again!).
And then on Sunday she just came back to me. She was a bit snarky during saddling and mounting. It wasn't yet her idea and I kind of plowed through that and got on her anyway. After a little meandering I realized what I'd done and slowed things down to get her mentally with me. We made a circuit of the arena with the reins just laying on her neck. It's the best we've done since November.
Shortly afterwards, Ed told me about measuring the arena. My initial goal was just half a mile. Cricket was forward and very un-cadenced. After six laps I figured why not go the whole mile? Just as we finished the 13th lap, Cricket dropped her head, lifted her back, blew out and just accepted what we were doing. I melted to a halt and dwelled with her.
I find it interesting that Cricket - a fairly classic LBI - would be so forward in the confines of a covered arena. She's supposed to sull up with arena work, particularly repetitious arena work. Hmm, how interesting. I'm thinking it has as much to do with my focus and the feeling that we were going somewhere. I want to incorporate more of this into our riding. It will condition her and give me a chance to improve my balance and harmony with her. It should also help her regulate her trot - something I've been meaning to work on for the past several years.