Basics... boring or breakthrough?!

I've been travelling to the east almost every week for about 6 months now, although I'm currently on 4 beautiful weeks at home.  Because of this, you can imagine that I'm not exactly getting a lot of riding in!  My young horse continues his training with my coach, but my 'fool around' mare hasn't been getting out much.

Finally we decided to pull her hind shoes and punt her into the field. Until I bought her, she'd really always been in a field, but it can be a major pain in the posterior when you are riding 5 times a week.  Well, it was a darned good choice!  After a week on the grass, her topline looked great, and she was a happy camper (once she enforced the new order of things... there's a reason I pulled those hinds...)

Shortly after this, my trainer suggested we have a friend ride her, she's a very well trained FEI level amateur rider.  And she loves the mares.  Heck yes, good idea, let's do that.  So, off I go for two weeks.  I come back and jump on her, it was amazing, she was lovely, obedient, responsive, off the seat... for two rides...  So, my trainer suggested I have a session with this rider to find out what she was doing with her.

Now this is my HOT horse, double emphasis on that.  I am told she's not quick enough!  Insert total shock here.  She tells me she rides her with a small spur and a long whip... astonishment.  Then we start some exercises.  Halt to walk.. 'not quick enough, tap tap tap!'  And then I got it... the front end is quick, the hind end, despite it's close proximity to the front, not so much.  Well heck, okay, we do that until she's appropriately responding. 

Then quarter turns on the haunches... 'not quick enough, tap tap tap'... I'm starting to see a pattern here.  Back and forward at the walk... back and forward at the trot... bring the neck down, bring the neck up... adjust adjust adjust...

Sure enough, the obedient, responsive, WAITING horse returned.  We found the key to Mo!  She stays very well with the rider if you never let her take over and never let her think too long.  Lengthen canter and back off the seat, no problem!  First level canter loop, no problem!  Second level counter canter ... developing.  This is my horse who used to get so agitated after a canter her head was in the stars... she's on the bit...

I get it.  So, every ride, we start confirming basics while warming up.  She's happy.  I'm thrilled.  We're going to a little show next weekend to see if it holds.  She might be my second level horse next year (would be nice if she didn't look pregnant by then).  Not bad for my non-show horse who I fiddle on while my young guy gets trained up... he'd better thank her!

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