Sometimes the best sessions are the ones we don't plan. Where we just play and we just BE.
With Cricket, those sessions are rare. She is so full of her own ideas that without a plan, I usually don't stand a chance. Monday was one of those precious moments.
Cricket came in from the field wet. I had an idea to play with emergency dismount but sitting on a soggy pony wasn't my idea of fun. I turned her into the arena while Bonnie cleaned stalls. I thought maybe we could work a little on laying down. Wet Pony + Sand = Roll.
Cricket had other ideas.
One of the best ways to get her feet moving without breaking the connection is Squeeze Game. That mare will canter a squeeze and easily disengage when any other send will elicit a bolt. I sent her over the small jump and she just sailed right over and looked at me as if to say, "what next?" So I upped the ante by asking her to jump the cross-rail and then a single down barrel. Piece of cake.
After a few repetitions, I decided to move on with some stick-to-me and maybe build a circle game. As we left the jumps, the big 40" ball was right in her way. She jumped it.
I stopped dead in my tracks. She knows it moves. But she jumped it without disturbing the ball at all. Did I mention she's an introvert? A left-brain introvert?
Since she was still cool with jumping, we played with a three jump combo - cross-rail, barrel and ball. She never got all three in a row but she did get two out of the three most of the time. Including several more jumps over the ball.
We finally moved on to F8 and I blew it. She was cantering around the left cone and I wanted a FLC in the middle. She tried and tried and eventually bolted. Damn it!
I got her back and we played very slowly with the F8. I used a few bits and pieces from The Project and eventually we finished with a soft, connected F8. Not a bad recovery.
With her energy down, I asked her to try to think about laying down. We never accomplished the lay down but her connection and curiosity were worth every minute - including the ones where I went down and rolled in the sand!
I think we are making huge strides in our liberty connection. I know I threw in a little circling and she never left me.