Rode for an hour yesterday - it was BEAUTIFUL weather outside for a nice quiet walk in the woods. :-) Unfortunately for Arabee, we needed to have a conditioning ride, so that one hour really worked up a big sweat on her! I'm not sure the exact temperature, somewhere between 60 and 70. I was comfortable, though! She'll really be shedding out the winter coat rapidly after working up that kind of sweat.
She was kind of a stinker yesterday. It must have been one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. You know, "if you think you can, or if you think you can't - you are right." Well, I guessed that after having a big workout on Saturday, and Sunday off, that she would be feeling froggy, so either I was right....or I was anticipating a bit of a fight so I got one.
She wasn't really that bad... but didn't really want to stand still when got her out of the paddock, was giving me trouble with the rump rug (I always "remind" her what the rump rug looks like when it catches in the wind, and remind her that the crupper is there before each ride). She was well-behaved at first, bending well, walking out nicely, so we headed down to the ditch/creek to walk around there, then followed it along to where the little tractor path is. For some reason she just hates climbing that particular hill. She wants to rush up and get out of that valley *right now*. My guess is that it's really the only place in that woodsy pasture that is actually out of sight of the barn.
So each time she headed up that hill and wanted to trot instead of walk, I gave her a single-rein-stop, turned back around down to the bottom, then tried it again. It took a lot longer than I wanted it to, but finally she did walk (although quickly) up the hill.
After I won that one we did some trotting, and she kept wanting to break into a canter at the muddy parts. It was a nice, easy canter, but still disrespectful for her to try to decide what gait. So I'd bring her down and we'd trot, and next time we'd get to that spot I asked her for a canter. (first time I'd intentionally cantered out of the arena...I am such a chicken!!!) I took her by surprise since I hadn't asked her to canter in a long time, and she took the opposite lead of the bend we were on, and it was ROUGH. So we trotted, and tried it again next time around. Much better.
She was pretty excited after we did some cantering (that was FUN!) and kept giving me huge trots that I could feel were going to turn into canters any second. She did break gait a couple times, but I was eventually able to keep her trotting when I asked for the trot.
I'm using more rein pressure than I want to have to to keep her at the speed I want to go. I wish I had a video of parts of yesterday's ride - since she was really giving me a lot of energy in her trot (and canter) and I was reining her in, and she was rounded up and arching her neck and breathtakingly beautiful from astride, so I really wish I could've seen it! But, I don't want to use that kind of rein pressure all the time, I'd like her to rate better w/out rein. Really, I screwed up at the trail ride at Clark on Saturday - she was trotting out really fast to keep up with Toby and Phebes when they would canter, and rather than slow her down w/ my seat, I used rein, rather ineffectively, and essentially taught her that it's okay to ignore me pulling on the reins. It's amazing how you really do have to be on top of your game all the time when in the saddle, since it doesn't take long w/ these super intelligent arabians for them to learn a bad habit.
So, tonight's goal is to work on rating, and responsiveness.
I'm also considering breaking out of my comfort zone and heading for the farm lanes. I can so tell that Arabee is sick of riding in the same pasture over and over and over.....but I like the comfort of having the fence. It's a little ridiculous because this is like a 10 acre pasture, she's got plenty of room to get away - but for me the difference is knowing she can't dump me and then gallop back across the ROAD because the gate is shut, so she'd be safe. Maybe I'll see if I can get my "riding parter" to come along, for extra confidence on the first lap, then I can do some trotting laps with just me and Arabee.