|Majestikal Sport Pony thinks working is overrated.|
After some scheduling confusion which left us unable to go to the indoor on Monday, Dino and I headed back to our neighbor's place with the intent of having a generally less-offensive outing.
The weather here is starting to act a little more spring-like, and we enjoyed a warm, sunny walk over to the outdoor. Dino was much more confident about the trip, and while still alert, he wasn't as worried about going trekking without his buddies.
I think it's just so cool that we now have a partnership that allows me to hop on and ride a mile, solo, to do some dressage work and then ride home. It's a great feeling to have that kind of trust and independence on the back of my pony.
When we arrived, we were greeted by an arena that was about 3/4 of the way defrosted, and we were both quite excited to not have to be relegated to a 20 meter circle of non-slushy footing. Hooray!
And while Dino did not take quite as long as he did on Sunday to settle in and get to work, he still made his many opinions known during our warm up.
"THERE ARE OTHER HORSES OVER THERE DID YOU SEE THEM?!?!?"
"I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU TELL ME TO DO THINGS!"
"HOLDING MYSELF UP WHILE CANTERING IS HARD. YOU'RE MEAN."
"OMG A CAT"
Dino was in a funny sort of mood wherein he was behind my leg, yet hot and reactive to everything I asked him to do. He was going forward, sure, but my requests for him to use himself a bit better, bend more, or sit down on his hind legs were met with some serious sass. He even threw in two big bucks when I touched him "too much" with the spur!
It ended up being a good lesson for me in not nagging him, as I had to keep my leg OFF and just ride quietly, suggesting he move up into the bridle until Dino settled into his work. The second I got too aggressive or annoying with my aids, Dino would react by sucking back, swishing his tail, squirting forward on his forehand, and/or bucking. To be honest, at this point I was starting to feel a bit discouraged by his recent displays of Going-Back-To-Work-Itis. Where was my good pony!?
Thankfully the pony'tude was not long lived, and after a few canters on a loose rein Dino was ready to buckle down and get some real work done. I could apply my leg without him talking back. Progress.
We worked a lot on transitions, practicing walk-trot until both the upward and downward transitions were uphill, prompt, and light. I love the feeling of my pony stepping up in his withers into the trot! The trot-canter transitions were a little rough to start, but after a few Dino was making the depart up from my seat, and by the end the upward transitions were nice and round in both directions. I played with a few smaller canter circles in the corners to start getting him thinking about sitting more in the canter. I tried to be mindful of giving my hand forward and allowing Dino to hold the bit, as well as staying quiet with my upper body in the canter departs. It takes a lot of brain power, but we had some really nice moments! Next time I hope to take that good work a step further and do some counter-canter and lengthening and shortening exercises.
But for now, we're waiting out the rain...