Friday night I decided to do some long line work again with Aruba instead of riding her. The last couple of times I rode, after she felt she had done enough, Aruba kept popping up her front end in protest of having to move forward in our upward transitions to the trot. She was also throwing her head and grinding her teeth. She would trot, but obviously she wasn't happy about doing it and kept trying to make it clear. It was clear all right and since there was nothing amiss in the tack, no soreness in her back before or after our ride and eventually she gave up the fight and performed awesomely, it was one of her displays of "I don't want to and you can't make me. Humph!" Insert image of pouting child that doesn't get their way here...
Aruba wasn't exactly thrilled with still being required to work, but she did so much better in the lines. I figured she would, since there would be no weight for her to carry and no confusion coming from me while riding. I admit that sometimes I get thinking about what I AM doing- right or wrong, what I'm NOT doing- right or wrong, what I should or shouldn't be doing.... and it becomes a giant mess for both of us. I'm trying to control my own body and in turn it is also controlling her body and sometimes things get out of hand for one of us and the problems start. Anybody else do this? I know I'm not alone here.
I started Aruba out with the lines through the rings up on top, close to her withers. She did ok and was still a bit reluctant to go forward without the drama, but soon she relaxed and moved out, almost overstepping each stride at the walk. Yay! She was doing pretty well at the trot also when it hit me. I moved my hands out, wider apart to give her more space in a 'channel' between them. Wouldn't this same idea also apply in the lines? DUH!?!?!?
I stopped her and moved the lines down a ring on each side. What happened next was awesome. Aruba really started to work like she should and was absolutely gorgeous doing it. She also acted as if she was Happy about it. Then of course we also worked on our stops. She became soft in the bridle and stopped with her feet squared up under her almost every time. Changes were being made and things are definitely turning around for the better.
I had asked my friend in one of the first emails how much I owed her for the lesson? Since I was seeing some definitive changes in the way things were going, it's only fair, right? She called me silly, said she is still grinning from the voicemail and was actually surprised that I had jumped right in to TRY what she had told me to do. Well if she had the time to type it all out, why shouldn't I at least give it a shot? What did I have to lose? Actually, hers was the email response I was waiting for the most.