Last weekend, my ride on Lucy was a weird mix of sluggish mare and
"what was that noise?"
"It's leaf blowers, Lucy, the same as you hear all the time at Marv's house."
"But this isn't coming from Marv's house. This is different. It might be a troll with a leaf blower."
We worked on prompt transitions -- most were fairly prompt and a couple were excellent. Mostly I dealt with a sluggish trot interspersed with high headed looky behavior. She was a lot of work.
I made a mental note to wear spurs the next time I rode.
Saturday, I fetched Lucy from the pasture after breakfast so we could ride before leaving for Pistol's play date. She walked calmly beside me but she gave the trailer a hard stare. It was hooked to the truck, parked in front of the barn, and the rear door was open. At the tie rail, she wouldn't stand still. She pooped, she scooted, she pooped again. She could hear Brett moving around in the barn.
"You're taking me somewhere; aren't you?"
"No, Lucy. The trailer is out for Pistol"
"I don't believe you." And she pooped twice more.
She heard Brett open a door in the trailer.
"I knew it! You are taking me somewhere! I don't want to go. I don't want to leave. You can't make me. Get that saddle away from me. No, I won't stand still." ...and she pooped yet again.
I think she pooped six times while I tried to tack her up. She scooted right, she scooted left, she pawed... It was exhausting.
I decided to lunge her before getting on.
Holy crap -- I had a fire breathing dragon on the end of the lunge line. She crowhopped and bucked and carried on for quite awhile.
"I won't go! I tell you, I won't go! This is what I think of your stinkin' trailer."
--"but, Lucy, you aren't in the trailer. You have a saddle on and we are in the arena."
"It's a trick."
I did eventually get her to settle down. We worked on prompt transitions, we worked until she let it go and relaxed; until she was listening to me and giving me immediate transitions, both up and down.
Then we were out of time so I put her back in her pasture and Brett put Pistol in the trailer. Sheesh.
Today, Lucy dozed at the tie rail while I tacked her up. The trailer door was closed. She wasn't worried in the least. Our ride was as awesome as could be. Her walk trot transitions were effortless and executed with a lovely surge of power from behind into my hand. Since she was relaxed, we worked on canter. Again, lovely prompt transitions. I listened and she kept me honest (gotta love a mare).
Head coming up a tad, tensing "Knock it off with the hands; relax already. I need some room."
And I'd relax my shoulders, make my arms heavy and following -- and regulate our tempo with my seat.
"You're doing it again."
--its not on purpose; I'm getting better - right?
"Yes, but I want perfection; total harmony and happiness. You with me?"
-- Yes, Lucy. Absolutely.
We finished and Brett said "That's the nicest canter I've ever seen you have on her." I smiled and told him we had had a good conversation about canter. She really is the best teacher.