The more I ride and further train Mia, the more I am thinking she is in fact a blend of personalities of TWH and the App. For a very long time I said I wished I could blend those two horses as I would have the perfect horse, one that would try to reach the moon just because I asked and had the athleticism to do anything we ever wanted. Mia is very athletic and quick and smart and tries, just like I wanted. But she also has that stubborn streak like the App and when I hit it, man it is a big bump to get over.
Mia has had almost 2 weeks off, I rode her right before the farrier was out and she was kinda off but kinda not. Some days she was bad, others not and showed some heat in her hoof and slight swelling in her pastern. Finally last Wednesday and Thursday she was really ouchy and was almost non-weight bearing on her left front. As I watched, she was putting her toe down and not wanting to weight the heel, I suspected an abscess was about to burst. I kept her slathered in poultice to reduce any swelling, wrapped to offer support, buted up to reduce pain and ichthammol'ed to try to draw the abcess out and it finally blew out Friday afternoon at her heel bulb. I gave her an additional 4 days off and then put her back to work. As a result of her being off, I also scratched our show on Sunday. There will always be another show!
Our first ride was a basic dressage ride. Walk and trot to start. Mia was all over the place, fully refusing to keep the contact and throwing her head up whenever the mood struck her. Changing her gait from slow to fast without regard to my seat, randomly stopping instead of transitioning down, all sorts of fun evasions. This is very common for her, we just keep working on consistency. We worked on changes of direction to try to soften her up and while it helped, it didn't fix her. It is obvious 2 weeks off is not good for my mare!
I figured I would canter her to wear her out a bit except she wanted to run into the canter instead of picking it up. Because why not right? I grabbed a crop and smacked her a couple of times to remind her that wasn't acceptable before she decided to give me some nice transitions. Then the transitions were nice but Miss Mare would NOT just canter along. She was horribly inverted with her head up, back hollow, shoulder dropped, pulling like a freight train. Oh. My. Gawd. Mare. Just. STOP. I worked on my normal tactics of lifting the inside rein to get her to pick her shoulder up and possibly drop her head, using my legs to steer her and encourage bend, working at making a big circle and then a small circle, figure 8's when she finally had it. She yanked on the reins and flipped me off with a toss of her head and tried to take off. Oh no mare, I sat way back and pulled her to halt like I was waterskiing and held it there. She stood there head up, head back, mouth gaping, refusing to budge an inch. She would not give me a release whatsoever, no backing, no softening of the poll, no relaxing of the jaw, just standing there giving me the middle finger. Thanks horse.
I tried thumping her and she would back a step or two before she would resume her position, it really was a battle of wills that lasted many minutes. I finally got her to soften her poll a tad so I released and then did a longer exercise of I pull, you give. I tug, you lower. I soften, you soften, damn it! I then kicked her back into a trot and low and behold? Mia held her head at a respectable level, didn't fight or drop the contact and didn't change her speed. I asked for a canter and she not only gave it right away, but when I asked her to lower her head from a giraffe position, she did! I changed directions really quickly to ensure her "good side" had the same results and called it a day. Ms Mia may have kicked my butt but I kicked hers harder and it appears as though I have won this round. Thankfully this lesson should stick for a couple of months until we hit the bump again, at least that is our trend but man it is a hard bump indeed.