Well, my last day of classes was today. The end of the school year tends to be one of those things that comes up way too quickly, but not soon enough. After writing three tests & handing in two projects and one culminating, my last day was eventful at the very least. One of these days I'll learn not to leave things to the last minute. Then again, I've been saying that since like grade 6... probably before then. Whatever, what's done is done. Only finals left! On the riding front, we had a fun week. Monday cadence got a pedicure, tuesday we rode bareback, and wednesday we dressaged. The bareback ride was fun and productive. It was good because my fear of slipping off the side combined with her bony whithers made me insist on a nice slow trot. She's got enough natural movement in the trot (even when she isn't using her bum) that rhythm really counts! we kept to w/t, and mostly worked on straightness and keeping her on the contact @ all times. She's normally fantastic about that, but she wasn't too keen on the whole slow and steady trot thing. The other thing we worked on was keeping her on the contact in our free walk. Sometimes she's a bit laxckadaisical about this, so it was good practice. Our free walks are gonna be rockin by the next show! The other thing that came out of the ride is that I realized she's still a teeny weeny bit bent to the left when we're going to the right. She's so much better than when I got her sometimes it's hard to fix the leetle things like that, because she's really straight compared to what she used to be. Make sense?
Our wednesday ride could have gone better. My plan was to essentially elabourate on Tuesday's ride. On the contact in the stretch in the trot, straight in the w/t/canter, and soft at the halt. Our ride started out fantastically. We even got some half decent stretching in the trot. Our training level dressage tests all have a trot stretch. I personally think it's a silly movement and it should be removed. If Cadence improves, I may change that opinion, but for now it stays. We had a great canter right, came back to trot, picked it up again, came back down. The plan was to canter left and quit, but somewhere between the end of our second right canter and the end of our left canter something flipped. My beautiful mare went bye bye and a grabby, heavy in the hand, pushy-pully, stiff nightmare replaced her. I tried everything... stretching, transitions, woah-waits (slow down, release, return to working trot/canter), and just letting her relax. I don't believe in just letting a horse 'get it out of their system' when they have a rider on their back. In my experience, it rarely works and is often quite counter productive, so I skipped that method. At one point I loostened my reins a bit and was just letting cadence trot around in something resembling an angry tense stretch when she cantered off on me. We were going to the left and she picked up her right lead, neatly swapped it, and continued on her way. In truth, it was a gallop not a canter, but canter sounds better. I've never had her do this, and she would NOT stop. I let her go, I pulled her back, I circled her, I changed directions, she barged on. Naughty mare. We resumed work once she decided to return and she was no different than before, so once I got the teeniest bit of give she was finished.
All in all, the ride wasn't that bad (save the one episode) in general, just bad compared to the level of work I've come to expect from her and from the awesomeness I had at the beginning of the ride. She got yesterday off, and is having a lunge session with our BO tonight. Tomorrow, I reasess.