Nitty Gritty Plan. The challenge - to outline some of the sticky spots I have in my horsemanship. Specifically working towards my L4 Liberty and my L3 Freestyle.
When it comes to Freestyle riding my biggest obstacle is my fear of losing control. Letting go of that rope and really trusting my horse is hard for me. I suppose it's a bigger hang-up than just my issues because I'm sure it creates a roadblock for my horse. If I cannot turn loose to her, how can I expect her to turn loose to me?
A specific problem - riding and guiding my horse with the carrot sticks. I can ride with them and if Cricket listens to my body we're golden. But if I have to use the stick it goes to hell in a hand-basket. Rather than yielding to the stick, Cricket turns into it and bites it. Why? I have no idea. She doesn't bite the stick when we play on the ground. She yields to the stick on the ground, soft and easy. Under saddle, major issue with her biting at the CS. Not exactly the picture the assessors want to see in L3.
And then our perpetual Achilles heel - the canter. We've come a long way, mostly in fits and starts but we've still got a ways to go. I can canter Cricket on a Question Box pattern and I can do some Follow the Rail. But it's not wholly confident on my part nor is it wholly relaxed on Cricket's end.
Roll those three things together and I have a particularly big sticky spot when it comes to passing my L3 Freestyle. Of course I could try it with Bleu but I've yet to even try cantering her under saddle and she has no idea about responding to my body . . . yet.
My goal to progress towards Freestyle is just to ride more and have fun while I do it. I'm going to work on Cricket and the CS and see if we can't figure out just what's going on - I have a feeling it's part dominance and part lack of confidence. I'm going to ride Bleu more. Even if she's not the one to actually ride for my audition, she's teaching me about courage, confidence and leadership. All things I need if I'm to conquer the canter on Cricket.
My singular hang-up for my L4 Liberty is the required flying lead change. The precursor to that issue is the maintain canter and draw at the canter. Right now, even getting Cricket to canter takes an act of Congress. So we're going back on-line and trying to fix her impulsion there. It needs to be a puzzle and I need to be playful about it. She's offered/attempted a FLC at liberty in the big arena. She thought about it too late and tangled her feet and had to buck/kick her way out of it. Since she's already better at liberty than on-line, if I can fix it on-line it should work even better at liberty.
So there it is - my issues in a nutshell. I have a plan and I just need to put said plan into action.