Izzy was really, really good today. It's almost like riding a trained horse now. She still flips her head a little bit during transitions, which I think is a remnant of trying to find her balance just a few short months ago.
Today, we worked on figure eights and changes of bend through both the trot and walk. The figure eights consisted of two 15m circles. Since I'm aiming towards an eventual jump/event career with Izzy, I want to get her used to changes of bend and direction. I'm looking towards maybe hunter/jumper flying changes by the end of the fall, so I need her to understand both a figure eight and changing gaits at the middle. She really picked up on it quite quickly. We also worked on spiraling in and out of a 20m circle and we've started being baby lengthen/shortens in the trot to help her learn to carry herself. Here's our most exciting news: we did an actual canter each direction. Up to this week, her canter was more a slow gallop at which we careened around and tried not to run into the fence. Forget lateral aids or trying to turn. It was a survival thing.
No longer. Izzy has mastered a nice, slow canter that I can actually ride forward and work with. It's a beautiful thing. I want to start working over trot poles and small crossrails again, but I'm waiting for the new (jumper) saddle to come. I figure that gives us about another week and a half to continue to finesse what we're learned. I probably need to get with Cathy and discuss what reasonable goals look like for the next few months. I don't like to just train aimlessly.
A funny thing about Miss Izzy: I tacked her up this morning without her princess hat, as we call it. It's just a crocheted ear net to keep the bugs off. I figured that she can't do dressage or hunter classes with it, so she needs to learn to go without it sometimes. She did not think that. As soon as we stopped lunging so I could take the reins down from her throatlatch, she thought, "THERE ARE BUGS ON MY EARS!!!!" and wouldn't stop shaking her head. I actually had to have Cathy hold her while I went and got her princess hat so she could focus again.
This from the pony who doesn't even get to wear a fly mask because she's always letting the boys take it off.