I started with Z tonight, some nice ground work and plans for riding circles at the canter in the english saddle. I wanted to reenact my private lesson with Dave Ellis and try to find ways to make it better.
Our ground work was strong and we did some liberty in the large arena. Our connection was pretty strong and she didn't leave me. I set up a circle with cones and mounted up for some corner pattern and follow the rail at the trot. Once she felt warm, we went to circles. In the meantime, I tried different stirrup lengths. After a few adjustments, I found a better length for my stirrups. We trotted and cantered circles for quite a while. I realized that I ride the circle at the canter much, much better to the left! How interesting!! To the right, I have a hard time staying balanced on her back in the english saddle. I tried to lower the inside stirrup and that helped. However, I just felt less balanced and less "correct" to the right. I will now start riding twice as much to the right.
It was a good workout and she was riding the circle nicely - not looking to collapse the circle or leave it. So, I decided to take her on the trail. Two of my dogs, me and my horse went on down the trail. I got off out on the trail right by a nice patch of green grass, pulled her bridle off and let her munch away as a reward. She was doing so well - calm and brave. I wanted to reward that. I'm loving my horse more than ever. We practiced haunches in on the trail and leg yields. She was soft and willing. Just really nice.
Once we got back, I wanted to play with Nina and mount her some more. She was a wild child for the first 20 mins and even got away from me a couple times. I had to really work on my slip grip and then preparing to be ready when she hit the end of the line. She's so strong and athletic. And she's a classic LBE. However, after playing for a while and doing some nice falling leaf, sideways and backwards, she was interested in finding more obedience. It was a big change from where we started.
Then, I tacked her up in my western saddle and played some more. I haven't put my western saddle on her in a while and she was extremely irritated by the rear cinch. She bucked, and then she bucked, then she bucked some more. Once she was able to canter w/o bucking, we started to make our way to the round pen for more mounting practice. I mounted from each side about 8 times. I want to build her ability to stay very still for mounting while making the mounting process a non issue. She actually had a leg cocked for a lot of it. It's time to move on with her. We can start walking circles in the round pen next. She's so athletic that I worry about her starting to lose it with her first rides. I'm going to do some more reading up on colt-starting and try to make sure I've thought of everything.
At what seemed like the right time, we finished up and took Nina's tack off. It was a great session with both horses! Tomorrow... Gemini.