Given the predictions for barely-above-freezing Sunday weather, I opted to do the Saturday gymnastic lesson on Cally. She warmed up shockingly quietly, practically in hunter pony mode. I wondered for a moment whether I’d pulled the wrong horse out of the field, but hey, I wasn’t complaining, she felt great!
We started off just getting a nice forward march through some ground poles, which often get her a little riled up, mostly because a) she does not like outside forces dictating where SHE should put her feed and b) they’re flat on the ground, which she sees as a waste of her time. But this time, no such arguments, she marched right through, no attempting to canter them or leap all of them in a single bound.
Then we moved on to working on me keeping my shoulders and upper body back, which helps keep her balanced and keeps her from getting on the forehand and quick. That’s not so difficult over a crossrail, where she’s not jumping, just taking a big step.
We ended up with three fences set at various points in the ring, and worked on riding different sets of rollbacks between them. One sticking point for us was that, as you may notice in the crossrail photo, a few of the poles were plastic. Cally doesn’t care about plastic, and will hit the poles every. single. time. So after a few really stupidly lazy passes over the fence, I asked in frustration if the top rail could please be replaced with a wood one. Tadaaaa, nice neat jump, and she didn’t touch it the rest of the lesson.
Sometimes she’s really too smart for her own good. But she felt really good, a little strong at times, but the tighter the rollback, the better she actually listened. She’s really a horse that likes having a direction and something to do–too long to lope around on her own and think about things leads to her wanting to make decisions that are not hers to make.
Hopefully now that we’re done showing for the winter, we’ll be able to do more of the barn’s weekend gymnastics sessions. I’m hoping we get to do a lot of gridwork over the winter, because it always seems to improve her, because it really gets her working and figuring things out on her own, without input from me, which makes her think shes in charge, which she likes. That generally leads to her jumping better all around, as she decides it’s cool to be good. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more good and easy all around by spring.