I haven't been on my mares for a while now. First it was the holiday weekend, then it has been just life in general- having to go here, be there, pick this up, grab that and be somewhere else all at the same time. We all know how that goes and I do try to plan things out in advance, but something usually happens to throw a wrench in things and screw it up.
The other night I decided to opt out on riding and go with ground work for both mares. The WB mare has been off in the front right from the abscess and is finally starting to come back around. The TB mare, has just been chillin' and relaxing. Why tempt fate and just hop on? Besides, I wanted to make sure I haven't screwed anything up so far and also to try and teach her a little more about counter flexing. To the right she's fine, but the left she wants to cling to the rail and just go on 'ignore' and 'auto pilot'.
I'm finding it is far easier to incorporate something new from the ground and let the horse figure it out on their own, then get on and add leg, seat and weight to the equation. If it sinks in while I'm on the ground and without me getting in their way, it's got a better chance of sticking in their mind and being there to build from later on.
While the WB mare wasn't too sure what I was asking, she managed to finally 'get it' and was showing some really beautiful movement, crossing her legs over both front and back. The TB mare seemed to struggle with the concept a bit more. She has only been taught to go forward and go fast, so all of this lateral work is new to her. She does pick things up rather quickly and with the reins in the lower rings on the side, it helped to exaggerate the cues a little more, making it crystal clear for her, what I wanted.
After a little work with counter bending, I let her relax and just go forward. She picked up a trot that the only word coming to mind to describe it is 'Springy'. She just seemed to bounce with every step and lift off for the next one with lightness and ease. It was quite beautiful to watch and since she was doing so well, I kept it short and let her stop. A few laps the other direction with the same graceful movement and I stopped her there. Again I find myself itching to get on her. I can hardly wait to get her under English tack and see where it goes.