This morning when I rode Lucy, my goal was to work on me. We went through our usual warm up, using my favorite concentric circle pattern. Initially, we walk all three circle sizes. When Lucy is stretching nicely, we do all three at trot (both directions). Last we do a mix, using the largest circles for canter and walk or trot for the other. I transition at the same place -- and hopefully my circles are rounder when I ride than when I draw.
While Lucy was warming up, I concentrated on keeping my elbows relaxed at my side, carrying my forearm, keeping my thumbs bent on top of the reins, eyes up, heels down, legs against Lucy's side. Once she was stretching and loose, I brought her into a working frame. All I required of Lucy today was that she be prompt in her transitions, forward, and in front of my leg. We alternated more collected work with stretchy trot circles -- I'm a huge fan of stretchy trot circles. I use them in the warm up and then through out our work as a reward, especially after canter. We always end with stretching trot work as well. We didn't do much collected work. Lucy isn't strong enough, here in mid-winter with sporadic schooling sessions, and my abs aren't strong enough to sit for more than 15 meters either.
Brett was riding Mufasa at the same time as I was working Lucy. After we finished, Brett said he wanted to ride through the trees and I said that Lucy and I would follow him. She isn't comfortable outside the arena; it is apparently quite a scary place. So we rode behind Mufasa, on the yummy grass side of the dressage court.
As we turned and came back down the outside of the court, Brett stopped right by the haunted corner. If Lucy is going to spook during work, it is always in the same corner. Brett and I chatted for a minute and then Lucy was crow-hopping in place. I grabbed the bucking strap, told her she was fine, and she settled into a prance. We walked forward -- I have no idea if she heard a neighbor, saw a goblin, stepped on a twig... it's a mystery. I walked her back into the arena and she dropped her nose to her knees and blew a huge sigh of relief.
This evening while I was mucking the mare's pasture, Lucy came ambling over to me. She usually checks to see if I have treats, tolerates me scratching the mud off her face, and then walks away. Tonight, she let me scratch her face, her neck, her ears, her withers and her belly. She stretched her neck sideways and twisted her face, twitching her lips in pleasure as I massaged her. When I finished, she lifted her velvet muzzle to my face for a kiss. I'll have to thank the corner monsters for increasing Lucy's trust in me.