Thursday, July 9, 2020

Lesson 13 - the not-really lesson

I am so incredibly happy to say that Mia is 100% back to normal after her personality swing. She is back to being happy, eager, and (her level of) affectionate. It has made riding so much easier as we aren't fighting each other and she isn't actively saying no the entire ride. The barn sour-ness has also basically vanished into thin air. What a relief! I am still riding when I come back to the barn as an in-case, but whatever happened in Mia's little brain seems to have been pacified as we are back to normal.

Things change a lot around here, and it is of no surprise that the COVID situation isn't helping. In an alternate universe, I would be heading to Breyerfest this year. :( Instead, with things getting worse across the various states, we cancelled everything. Breyerfest was cancelled months ago, we cancelled our trip to MI for a family reunion for July 4th, we cancelled both of our car races, we cancelled our trip to Dallas in August, we even cancelled our vacation to FL in November. *sigh* I feel much more comfortable knowing we are staying home and secluded but it is extremely disappointing. I have even made the decision to cancel all shows except possibly the show being held at my barn. No shenanigans are to be had for us!

With our July 4th trip cancelled, I was able to squeeze in a quick lesson. A decision that turned around and bit me in the butt because I woke up that morning with a serious impingement in my shoulder, I could barely use it! Ugh. The lesson was short because I couldn't do much but it was helpful. We worked on "long rein dressage" and going over how A wants me to ask for laterals. Remember how I said A is changing everything about my riding? I mean literally everything. Ha!

A said I ask for too much and I ask for too long. I ask for laterals by applying my aid(s) and not removing it until I am done asking for it. A wants me to ask "every stride" instead, so I have been bumping. Apparently I am still not doing it correctly as "every stride" means every single footfall. I have been putting my leg on for 1 second, removing, and then reapplying. She instead wants me basically thumping with my leg in a more rapid fire motion. I think it is nagging, but she disagrees. To her credit, Mia did respond better with this new method, so there is that! It is going to take some adjustment to relearn how to apply aids, but I am dedicated and am going to succeed to make my mare better.

We discussed half halts again, and how using my seat is a great but Mia needs the more rudimentary half halt of leg/hand and how sometimes using both reins is also appropriate. We practiced as much as we could with my bum shoulder and I was assigned it as homework again.

I have ridden three times since the lesson after my shoulder finally fixed itself, we went on a short trail ride with another boarder and Mia was absolutely perfect. No barn sourness in sight. We did an actual fitness ride with w/t/c. I was a little more concerned about that ride bc the last time we tried some fitness after a dressage ride, Mia refused to stop and I got the worst raspberries I have ever gotten in my life. Which also seems to be scarring, which is nice. Mia told me not to worry though, we had an easy peasy ride. When I pushed her into an extended canter, she went. When I asked her to come back by sitting up, she slowed down. Such a different horse from a month ago!

Yesterday I wanted to jump so even though it was raining, we jumped the couple of things that are outside. That was the ride I knew I had my old mare back. Mia was flexible, adaptable, willing, and happy. Even though the jumps were 2'6" and lower, she jumped them quietly, calmly, and didn't knock anything. We then jumped some of the small xc logs and she came back to me when I asked while also having fun. No bolting over fences like she had been doing. This makes me so incredibly happy. My next lesson is July 12 and I am looking forward to showing off some of our skills!