After riding my mare Wednesday night and being so totally stoked about the changes that came from a few small things, I called my friend and got her voicemail. The message I left went something like this:
"OMG Girlfriend! I rode my mare tonight and I really have to say- Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!!
I rode tonight and tried to remember everything you said to do and apply it. Keep my hands wide and up, use my leg to ask her to step under herself. I not only NAILED the diagonals going to the left which has always been a problem for me but also Miss Thing responded as if she were happy someone was finally taking control. She was not happy about having to actually work, but she did it. Keeping my hands wide and giving her a channel to go thru and forward? DUH! She's a BIG horse, she needs somewhere to GO! I'm so used to riding the smaller, dinky breeds and keeping my hands low and together. And since I took a hold of her and was using the half halts, she has responded well and is light, quiet and soft in the bridle. So again, THANK YOU! for all of your help and support and telling me what to do. You Rock!"
I slipped in another ride on Friday night and got the same results. Aruba was all kinds of Awesome! This time her walk was much more FORWARD and I hardly had to use my spurs at all to get it. She was even more forward like that just leading her around. BIG change from having to drag her everywhere. Also my friend had said she needs to track up and start to overstep in her stride. "Bah!" I said. "This mare may never overstep in her stride. She is as long as a city bus!" This mare wears a size 90 sheet/blanket to give everyone an idea of her size. Well guess what??? Aruba is either coming close or overstepping herself at the walk, loose in the round pen when warming up. City bus length and all.
I was all set to haul the girls down to Cindy's place again for some arena time on Saturday. Mother Nature didn't like that idea all too well I guess. I had gone up to my moms and was hanging out there, doing some sewing and finishing up a few projects I had half started, some were almost done and was dying to wear everything... About the time I should have headed out, it started to POUR! HARD! I figured I would wait it out and see how long before it blows over. It didn't take long, but then came round 2 and 3, with not much signs of letting up so I cancelled. Then came round 4 and although it was sprinkling when I threw everything in the truck to leave, by the time I got on the road- it had begun pouring down rain again. Riding over the weekend was a wash.
I rode Aruba again on Monday and Wednesday nights. Although it had gone well before, I think she realized she actually has to work and is becoming a bit resistant about it. She has started grinding her teeth when I ask her to trot and throws her head, offers to bounce into the next upward gait and was getting a bit pissy with me. Bringing it back to a walk, she relaxed and lost the attitude. I tried asking for the trot again and before long she was going into it willingly. As my friend had said, her movement will carry you and lift you into the posting trot and you won't be coming as far up out of the saddle as you are in the video. I think one thing that is annoying to Aruba is going around the round pen. It gets boring for both of us, but for now it's about the only place we have to work with decent footing.
Another thing that I noticed in all of this, was that I was able to bring my feet back and under me where they belong. My friend had told me not to worry about it for now. Fix the other things first, the rest will follow. Well it's all falling into place and coming together quite nicely. Now if I can just find the time to drag the girls to Cindy's again and use her arena to try things there. One step at a time. Bit by bit, we'll get there sooner or later...