(1/3 meaning first session of three before I head back up to the ranch...her next sessions after that will be more consistent hopefully but will exist after my permanent return home from the ranch)
I chose this morning to add to my already-8-hours-of-sleep rather than ride either of the boys. I don't know what it is about my body, but it likes 10 hours, and it can be very demanding!! Lol. I laid out the boys' breakfasts, packed my bags, and headed out.
I did not get home until later that evening (had to make a few stops en route) and took Missy out first thing. We worked on her specific tying issue (she ties everywhere now, and I mean everywhere, except to this one specific rail), did a little groundwork, then took it up into the saddle. I have to admit I worked her pretty hard today and got after her quite a few times. If she were my horse, I would take it slower, but she needs to move along a little quicker since she's a sale horse and she is also at the point where I feel I should be expecting a little more out of her by now. For example, leg yields - she didn't quite fully understand what I wanted, but was not even trying much of the time. So, whenever she tried, I left her alone, when she didn't, I wiggled my dressage whip at the offending shoulder that wasn't moving over, and even tapped her if she ignored the wiggle. Pretty soon she was doing pretty nice leg yields. Not completely fluid and even, but responsive and with effort. Being the brilliant horse she is, I expect her to have them down pat by tomorrow's session with her (that's just how she is). I think though I was interfering too much with her canter. Every time she picked up the wrong lead, I slowed her back to a trot and re-asked. Cross-firing, same deal. However I would insist she pick the canter back up right away, whereas she wanted to go from a fast trot into the canter. Whenever I inadvertently allowed her to do it her way, she picked up the correct lead and didn't cross-fire (usually). If I insisted on a better depart (less trot steps), then she usually gave me a ridiculously messy and unbalanced canter. So, I guess my lesson learned today was to a) just focus on my riding to make sure I stay out of her way, I was admittedly sloppy at times (*shrink*), thanks to her imbalanced canters; b) allow her to do her thing, even if it is from a fast trot, we can work on a better depart later, as she gains balance and; c) slow her down before you know she is going to cross-fire, before she becomes unbalanced - take what little she can give and then build on it until you have a fluid 20m circle or even an arena-length of nice canter. She's a smart horse and can progress at warp-speed, so take what you can, what you have, and then mold it. We further worked on absolute basics like sidepass and turns on the fore/hind (those are getting absolutely beautiful now) as well. Overall I did get after her quite a bit to get her impulsion up (backing up my leg), but I think we did ok and will both take a lot into tomorrow's session. I'll do my absolute best to make tomorrow's session less work for her, too and accept a little less of canter. To Missy's credit, she actually did very well today, especially for a green horse, and she had a wonderful attitude throughout it all. She actually did work very hard, even at the end, when I could tell she was pretty damn tired. What a wonderful horse overall :)
Missy gets two more works, then I return to the ranch for a final week with the boys :)