Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maia's work continued, her work on the lunge was nearly perfect, she knew all the voice commands and understood the sliding side reins. The fourth time we rode was the best yet, and the first without a sidewalker. Jaimie rode Ben and Carly rode Gracie, and Maia would pick and choose which buddy she wanted to follow around. For the most part she was left on a loose rein, allowed to wander where she wanted to go, I was simply a passenger. Occasionally I would pick up the contact and we even did a few stints in the trot on a contact, which felt amazing. Her whoa/go commands were better and I had more steering as well. It was as if she had been thinking about it in her stall at night. We trotted down the long side and I did not constrain her, to encourage that wonderful movement she had. Moving freely with her, she broke into a canter, and I reacted as I would on any other horse. I sat down and moved with her, and it was beautiful. Everyone in the ring stopped to watch and all were nearly speechless afterwards. It was one of the smoothest canters I have ever ridden. Maia is growing up, she appears taller and more muscular every day, and she is now getting 2 cups of Purina Competition each morning to help. The bond between us has now grown to a different level, and the fact that she enjoys the ridden "work" so much is a huge encouragement for me, and at our next chance, we will ride again, then hopefully make it out on the property trails after 5 or so more sessions.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Over the next couple weeks, I rode Maia two more times, and Diane spent a session with me, introducing lunging while a rider is on board. I had only trotted a few steps up until then, but this time was different. We allowed her to trot off whenever she felt like it, which was often. Forward movement was our primary goal. Whatever speed, whatever direction, just forward. Her balance hadn’t yet been established whatsoever, and without a sidewalker she had nothing to stabilize her movement. She took the contact well, with no resistance or head flipping, but I kept a light feel to keep from making her feel pressured. It was not the best lunge she’d ever had, but it was the best I’d ever had. I was euphoric.
After that it was time for a break. I worked her very lightly, just in a bridle, and then she had a real vacation for about a week, while I focused all my energy on Alice, the chestnut mare I trained in dressage. We kept to grooming on the days I could fit it in, and she even got her first ever bath, which went quite well, considering some horses I’ve seen near a hose. I began working Alice in the mornings, so I had most of my afternoons open for Maia, and we were able to get back on schedule. She was feisty, of course, but she fell back into step quickly, and the second day back I lunged with the saddle and sliding side reins, and it went very well. At my next opportunity, we would ride again.