Lucy is a Gumby horse. She bends easily (I have to be careful not to overbend her) and lateral work comes easily.
(photo from Gumbyworld.com)
Yesterday morning she was calm but full of energy. When we started our trot work she was very forward, in front of my leg, and ready to run. She gave snorts of excitement and farts when we lengthened. I decided not to canter her. She was full of it. Instead, we practiced haunches in half-way down the long side, straightened for two strides, then did shoulder-in the rest of the way. We collected on the short side and extended on the long. We did quite a bit of leg yield. Lucy powered into her trot transitions and she kept the cork from blowing out of her bubbling champagne bottle of energy. I was very pleased.
This morning, I had a different horse. The sky was overcast with brief appearances of the sun interspersed with long grey periods. The breeze was blowing, slightly. It was, apparently, enough of breeze to wake up trolls. Lucy was on high alert. When Brett and Pistol came into the court, she settled slightly -- but then she saw a troll making faces at her from the trees and lost her focus. We spent the first ten minutes doing bendy things: small circles, narrow serpentines, leg yield, shoulder-in on a circle, boxes with turns on the forehand at the corners. When she was too busy thinking about her feet to worry about the trolls, we moved into trot work. And then canter.
I learned that Lucy will transition into canter if I weight my inside seat bone. That's it. I sit two strides, weight the inside, and she transitions beautifully. The transition down is just as easy. I shift my weight to the outside seat bone and give a light half-halt.
Riding a sensitive mare is a blast. A challenge, yes, but definitely a blast. An E-ticket package of "let's do it" in a sweet, "yes, please cover me in kisses" mare.