In the past when riding, she would need a tough talk telling her it was time to work and focus.
Corrections were met with defiance. She had her moments of brilliance but frustration normally took the lead. Super green pony and riders who have never started a pony before made for head banging, "what was I thinking," rides.
Weather and timing made last year more about her driving training and less about her under saddle training. Rosemary took right to the driving and in retrospect driving helped her body awareness tremendously. This year since her sarcoid has prevented the use of blinkers, she has been ridden more often. I am not sure what she studied over the winter, but she is a different pony. She is straighter and much more willing to listen to what we ask. Before she would brace and straight was never applied to her.
Unknown to each other, Mom and I have been working on the same things with her:
1. Teaching her to move into the outside aids, less motorcycle impressions. Lead her nose in then bring it back against her neck and ask with inside leg to move and fill the outside reins. Right side is tough for her. Serpentine and spirals are helpful.
2. Suppleness, which I guess you always work on. Rosemary is less like a yacht now that she is figuring out bending through her body. Bending lines and consistency with the aids really help her. If I feel her tense or brace, I add in a bell curve or half circle helping her release the tension or refocus.
3. Rhythm. This is where her drama mixed with her greenness can be really apparent. The other day, she was entirely too focused on Dottie calling from the field and her walk was choppy. She literally was stomping her feet. Hard to have a nice ground covering walk when you stomp. With her trot she wanted to get quick. In the end I asked her to open and close her trot. I even had to verbally command her to get her to focus. Using terms we use while driving really snapped her back into work. Instead of falling down hills, she sat and balanced. At this point, I will use any tool I can to advance her training. I did tell her that I could not talk to her in a dressage test.
Yesterday I really tested her by riding her a second time. Mom had worked her earlier in the day. Since all the horses had worked, I chose her to have a second ride. She surprised me by going right to work. I thought she was going to canter, so I asked. It was not great, but she did a short burst. We need to work it on the ground so she knows what we are asking. Her rhythm was better and she was reaching for the bit. Her walk was back to the ground covering stride she excels at with a nice floppy neck. Such a good pony.
I really wish I could afford lessons. With direction I think she is at a point to really grow and learn. But her eye and Winston's health are the priority. We shall just keep trying.
Here is a video of our ride yesterday.