I have been able to ride only 3 times since A rode 2 weeks ago, and the first time was super short as my back said "Nope!" and required a day to recover. Gah, it sucks to get old. On Tuesday I tried again and things went much better. We did a short walk ride, which wasn't entirely fun thanks to Mia insistence on turning around to go back to the barn. Eventually she got a pop on the nose when she tried to do a reining horse spin because that is not okay. She used to enjoy going out, I really don't know what changed. Does she want to work in the arena? No, she wants to just go to the barn aisle. Does she want to work hard? She will when she has to, but doesn't seem to. Ugh.
Thursday was a baby dressage day, with some light walk/trot/canter to see if my back would be upset, and it was not. Friday was a short, hard dressage ride outside followed by a short hack down the driveway, and a fight to get her head back towards the barn without jigging/trotting/spinning to head that way, and then straight back to the arena to work since she wanted to go to the barn so badly. *sigh*
Sunday was my lesson, and while I had a ton of homework I wasn't able to work on, I was ready to work. A immediately commented that Mia is using her hocks very nicely and evenly, the Legend is doing a very good job. So there is that. At one point A said "Man, she is really being a bitch today, look at that side eye!" Yeah, thanks. She definitely doesn't want to work today. Our ride was a lot of over flexion to work on getting Mia off of my leg right now. No more being nice, no more giving her the benefit of the doubt, if she doesn't move then she gets a smack with the whip. At one point, A walked next to us and smacked Mia for me when Mia wouldn't respect my leg.
We do have a lot of homework, which is good because it is going to be a few weeks before I can take a lesson again. Firstly, I am using too much aid for too long. When I apply my leg, I wait a stride or two before I remove it. She wants one ask to equal one try. Which means I am going to be applying my aids all of the time instead of asking and leaving it on until I don't want it anymore. I am also changing my rein aids to focus on the hind end. When I flex or overflex her, I am to give and soften when she yields her hindquarters instead of the yielding her hindquarters and softening at the poll. She wants me to wear the biggest spurs I have so that I can get Mia to respect my leg with minimal movement from my legs, I have to curl my leg up and in to use the spurs I wear 95% of the time.
She said we are solidly schooling 2-3 levels above where we are showing right now, and we were even able to get a few steps of piaffe (!!). She thinks that Mia will top out at 2nd/3rd level dressage which will equate to a Prelim horse, which is what I was aiming for anyway. She things we may be smacking against the petering factor, where Mia is petering out because she may not have more in her to give. Or at least if she does, she may not have it right now. Our goal is to change her response and my riding a bit to make her Training level tests be as perfect as possible and then move forward. Perhaps Mia needs a little more time to build muscle before we ask for more, not to mention 2020 has been one hell of a year.
My next lesson won't be until after July 6th, possibly not until July 13. I am excited to see if I can replicate some of the progress we made in the lesson during a regular training ride. Here's to finding some motivation, now to see if I can keep it!