Lucy had three days off with our trip out of town for Kyle's graduation. Monday, I didn't have time to ride before work but it wasn't unbearably warm when I got home, so I tacked her up and rode then. Lucy saw me come out of the house and walk towards the barn. She came screaming across the pasture and slid to a stop at the gate, tossing her head impatiently.
I'm not sure if it was the time off, or the long evening shadows but she was hyper. She did an imitation of a giraffe in the far end of the court and even shied at something that was completely invisible to me. It was work getting her to settle, but she did. It took most of our time to get her reaching down and forward to the bit, releasing her back.
Brett was taking pictures and I wanted to show him her extended canter. Lucy was more than happy to put the pedal to the metal when we came around the corner and headed down the long side.
This morning I worked with her again. Lucy was much more relaxed. My "plan" was to work on basics; relaxation and then carrying herself in a balanced and relaxed frame. Of course, plans are fluid with Lucy -- and any horse -- but especially with Lucy. She was relaxed and balanced within ten minutes. I've started cantering her in our warm-up because it helps her to relax; she is able to blow off some steam and then focus. But, no extended canter today. Lucy was far too excited about extended canter and was offering it when it wasn't asked for, so we didn't go there.
Instead, I practiced riding some patterns from the dressage tests I remember. It was just bits and pieces but I find that "practicing" a test helps me focus. I ride the corners better and the patterns more accurately, with an imaginary judge at C.
We also worked on regulating speed through subtle half-halts. I played with using my breath and my posture and discovered that Lucy will slow and collect if I lift my upper body tall, reaching away from my hips. If I add breath, I get a downward transition. We played with that quite a bit and ended on a very happy note.