With horses there is always things to change. Routines and not having routines. Lunging first, not lunging first, focusing on upper level work, relaxing and doing simple, basic work. Fix one thing and something else needs work or attention.
When I started riding Aruba, she was throwing her head and looking for release as we went to the right. Now she is throwing her head and looking for contact providing her balance and support no matter which direction we are going...
She was in heat on Saturday so I figured to do some ground driving and stay off of her. Also when I rode her Saturday I had used my close contact saddle. I didn't see any dry spots after getting off of her and untacking, found no soreness in her back when checking after our ride, but while I was on her, I did stick my fingers in under the pommel and there was not much room to be found. I'm not sure that the saddle fits her as best as it could, but it did seem ok. For now I will leave it be and when her back develops more, I will try it again. I don't want to cause her a sore back and since I have both a dressage saddle and a western to use that both fit her well- there's no reason to force the issue and screw things up.
Sunday night I mounted her for the first time in western tack- from the ground. With my stirrups still needing to go up one more hole, they were pretty high up already and dang if I didn't feel like a mountain climber. I had already gotten on her from the step stool, but then a bee kept buzzing around her off side flank. Not wanting to be on her if the bee stung and she went all NFR on me, I dismounted and led her around a little and made sure the bee was gone before climbing back on.
We did our routine of softening work and I pushed her into a jog. She is happy to oblige and is liking the idea of being a western horse, getting to relax and go slow, versus moving out and having to exert herself. But when I took a hold of the reins and rode with contact- totally different story.
She had been tugging on the reins and stopping at will, leaning on my leg to the point of wearing spurs a couple of times to put a stop to that and hubby said there was something funky going on with her back end. She had a weird sort of hop to it and it was out of control. She wasn't moving correctly and balanced as she should have been. Me? I didn't feel it. I tell this mare at least once or twice during every ride- "This is not all about you ya know. There are things I need to work on too."
When I tool a hold of the reins and had contact- that all changed for the better and in a big way. Suddenly she had her rear end under her where it needed to be. She was pushing from behind, light in the front end, moving off my leg (with no spurs on because I hadn't really planned on riding) and does Momma got TROT!
I am hoping to take her to the horsepark this weekend and ride her there. There is a schooling show there on the 11th and I am shooting for it. Maybe we will have a decent chance at bringing home a ribbon or two? If nothing else it will be a learning experience for her, so that in itself is a win.