Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dawn Tells Me to Tone it Down

I had three really outstanding rides yesterday.  Although it was pretty cold all day - it was about 17F when I brought Dawn in to ride in the morning, and it only made it up into the 30s - the sun was shining brightly, the birds were singing and there was almost no wind - in the afternoon the arena doors were open and with the sun it was almost 40 in there - very nice for a change.  Dawn was relaxed and soft, even after two days off.  Red worked out of his stiffness and gave me some really nice trot work, and Pie was as good as gold and did excellent bending and corners even on a loose rein.

Early this morning Dawn and I had another very good ride, although there was one moment where she told me in no uncertain terms to tone it down.  We'd done some very nice trot work, and had started doing some canter work.  I don't do a lot of canter work with her to spare her hind pasterns, but we do some.  We'd done some left lead laps of the arena, and then we moved on to right lead.  She struggles a bit with the right lead - it may be that her left hind is a bit weaker, or a bit stiffer.  We were cantering down the long side and I was using some leg and some rein contact to ask her to hold it together, when all of a sudden she gave a big kick out.  It was pretty clear what had happened - I was using a bit too much leg and too much rein contact and she felt squeezed and was telling me to cut it out.  I could almost hear her saying "geesh, I'm giving you the best canter I can, and don't trap me between your leg and hand!" We kept right on cantering for a few strides after the kick out, and then walked for a bit - she gave me a look back over her shoulder.  Then we did a bit more right lead canter work where I backed off with my aids, and she was fine with that and gave me some nice canter.

It's good to have a mare of such strong opinions as a teacher - she never hesitates to give me a piece of her mind!

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