With it being in the teens on Tuesday evening, I ride Mia and had RB4 come over and join me. I am really glad, it gave me instant feedback and made me really happy with how we are progressing. I started the evening by brushing my yak AKA TWH. He is super duper hairy and is now in full shedding mode, you can't get within 6 inches of him without hair jumping off of him and attaching itself to you. Unfortunately I have almost 2 months of this to look forward to, since he has SO MUCH hair it takes FURever to come off. When I was done with my quick 10 minute brushing, I had a pile of hair the size of a decent cat and it took 2 full scoops of the manure fork to pick it up. Oh horse.
Mia, however, has not yet started to shed and doesn't have a huge coat so even when she does shed it shouldn't be that bad. As a result, it took a quick 5 minute session to get her groomed and ready to be tacked up. We started our ride nice and slow, working on changing the speed of the walk and doing some baby leg yields before picking up a trot. She started out really, really heavy and fast, I felt like I was holding a good 15lbs in my hands in addition to having a very forward horse who had no desire to be balanced. We worked on changing directions, figure 8's, rail-to-circle patterns and even some leg yields at the trot before she finally started coming back to me. We took a walk break while I coached RB4 in some work on the TWH and when we started trotting the second time, Mia was much more relaxed and seemed to have her brains between her ears much better.
We practiced leg yields from the quarter line to the wall and while she doesn't always get it, she is starting to and RB4 said that when she did it looked nice. Mia's head is pretty high and she is trying to invert herself but the concept is being understood and RB4 said she can really move her legs underneath of herself when she wants to. Gotta get this on film sometime! When she was finally balanced enough to give some 10m circles without falling in or out I gave her another good walk break and coached RB4. RB4 was just playing, giving TWH some exercise but when I was able to get her to position herself correctly and set her hands vs holding his face, TWH gave her some nice trotting circles.
I got Mia moving again and worked on the canter, the right lead canter is either pretty decent or pretty bad without too much in the middle. Now that she isn't kicking out, bucking and veering into the middle of the circle, her current evasion is to simply trot faster instead of picking up the canter. Oh mare. We fix one problem to only encounter another, almost forgot what it was like training newbies. Almost. We got the right lead canter on the first try and I thought we would have an easy session. So. Wrong. After the first canter she fought and either rushed, rushed rushed, didn't pick it up (most of the time) or picked up the wrong lead. RB4 helped me by reminding me to stay super quiet before I ask for the C and to mix it up with walk/halt transitions. After a good (long) while Mia finally gave us 3 good canter transitions and the canter was actually pretty decent so we gave her a good long break before switching directions, getting one good canter transition (since it is her good direction) and calling it a night. We were both tired and sweaty but I hope Mia's lesson stuck. RB4 did say, however, that I am looking like a professional rider on her and that Mia is looking great. I am so excited about our progress!
In other news, our jumping lesson with H was moved to next weekend and we are now doing a dressage lesson with Mia on Sunday instead. Keep our fingers crossed, I want to see what kind of help H can give us with this canter. Last night was much too cold to ride again but hopefully I can ride a time or 2 before our lesson since it is going to be warmer. Come on spring!!