Last week, Cally had the week off, due to it being cold and be being a lazy wuss. (But I did go get the trailer back from being inspected, and it’s good to go for another year!) Yesterday, she was fresh, opinionated, and reactive. Some of it’s the warm weather, some of it’s the time off, but really, being asked to move off my outside leg should not be such an explosively difficult concept, because I know she can give, bend, and go on the bit. We work on that every ride.
So today, since it was raining and damp and ugly, and I got there when the barn was deserted and I had the ring to myself, I took advantage of the opportunity to put her on the lunge line, with sliding sidereins. Now, I don’t lunge much, unless I’m looking to see if she’s off, or she’s been in overnight and I want to stretch her legs for 10 minutes before we leave for a show. I probably should do more of it, because it lets her have her tantrum with herself, as I just stand impartial at the end of the line.
To wit, I started off without the sidereins attached to anything but the saddle just to let her get moving and warmed up a little before I asked her to really bend or carry herself. That resulted in a horse who wanted to canter a 15 meter circle around me, rather than one who wanted to trot a 20 meter one, so she cantered until she was more than warmed up. Then I started with the sidereins on, just attached on the outside and on the first ring on the inside, but OMG! Contact! With my MOUTH! I’m being TORTURED!!! So around and around she went like a saddlebred, head up in the air, Miss Drama Queen to the fullest, which is actually what I like about the sliding sidereins versus the fixed ones–she’s free to move her head up down and sideways as much as she wants, but until she relaxes down where she needs to be and they give, she’s just fighting against herself.
Eventually, she did relax, stop fighting herself, figure it out, and go around nicely enough that I was able to adjust the sidereins in a bit so that she was actually being asked to bend and carry a bit. I got a bit of good trotwork each direction like this, and called it good.
(It is, for the record, quite difficult to take a picture while lunging the horse.)
She was quite happy when I took the sidereins off and we handwalked around the ring to cool out, since it was too rainy to hop on and walk down the driveway to cool out. I do think, based on the initial reaction, and eventual results, I really need to make a point to do more lunging work with her, maybe once a week or so for hopefully a little less time than the half hour we did today (which is about 10 minutes longer than I’d prefer), and then perhaps be able to go out for a light hack or walk after.