Dawn and I had an interesting work session this morning, that started out a bit too exciting and ended well. Dawn had had three days off and it was cold, and the wind was blowing and the arena roof was buzzing and the doors were banging. Ordinarily, if we had been riding by ourselves in the ring as we often do, that would have meant that she would have been very forward and taken a while to relax and be soft. Today, though, was different, partly because with the hard frozen ground with no snow cover, none of the horses have been able to get their ya yas out in turnout. And there were two other riders in the ring, who had set up jumps and were galloping around.
Dawn was on edge and making ugly faces at the other horses. I mounted up - she stood perfectly as she always does - and started walking around while trying to stay out of the way of the gallopers. As we rounded the corner, one of the other riders went over a jump fairly close to us. Dawn squealed and launched herself vertically with a buck at the top. I "rode air" for a second but by some miracle of physics came down in the saddle with my feet still in the stirrups. Dawn's antics had caused the other horse to squirt away at speed.
I rarely lunge, but it was time for lungeing. I use lungeing for several reasons, and in Dawn's case there were two - she needed to express her feelings and pent up energy (really one and the same) and I needed to get her mind connected to me again. I was looking to get good upwards and downwards transitions on verbal cues, and cantering without scooting, bucking or kicking out. I'm not looking for mindless movement at speed, although there was some of that until she'd burned off a little energy. For a while there was head-high fast trotting, with cantering and explosive bucking thrown in, and snorting while standing still. After a while we were able to do some transition work, and we kept doing that until she settled into it. Then we added canter back in, and got more bucking. More transition work, and then the canter work started to fall into place as well. I just kept ignoring the stuff I didn't want and asking for what I did want. She's so fit, and the arena was cold enough, that she only got warm and not sweaty.
Once we were there, I put her bridle back on and mounted up again. By this time we were alone in the ring, which was helpful. We walked around on a loose rein for a bit, did some walk circle work and then some trot work as well. She was just fine again. We didn't work for too long, as she'd had quite a workout on the lunge, and I wanted to reward her recovered good behavior and responsiveness.