It was really sloppy out yesterday from all the rain, but it was 50f. I was so excited to finally be back and able to ride. I turned Izzy out in the slop to let her run around, and she was much less nutty then she'd been on Saturday. It didn't take too long to tack up, and then after lunging briefly, I got on.
This was my first time really riding since Katie rode her for me, and it was incredible. I feel like we've taken one of those big steps forward that only happen once in a while. When we rode with Donna, we worked on going forward, and pretty much just threw the reins away. When Katie came to ride, we had some forward, so she was able to pick up contact and ride Izzy in to it. In addition, she rode Izzy through some things that I probably would have backed off about.
When I got on yesterday, it was like riding a whole new horse. I remembered what Katie had told me about Izzy, so I did some things different with my riding. First, I picked up a pretty strong (but soft) contact. Izzy is more confident and comfortable with contact. Next, I reminded myself that Izzy does know the aids. She's not the baby horse I started anymore; she's making progress towards being all grown up and trained-ish. Finally, I didn't let Izzy get away with her basic evasions. These evasions are anything from spooking to getting behind my leg, to jumping in to canter to avoid going truly forward in her trot.
What a difference. I carried my whip in my left hand, which made me think a little more about using it. I think because my right is more dexterous, I would catch Izzy in the mouth when I used the whip, which contributed to her confusion about it. Despite the mud and slop yesterday, Izzy was forward and moving easily off my legs. She went into the contact willingly, and she didn't spook at anything, despite one long look at the subdivision next door. We stayed with walk/trot because I didn't trust the footing enough to canter, and we had a wonderful time.
It was a whole different feel than I've had on any horse all year long. I used to feel really secure on a horse. I knew I wasn't coming off. When I came off of Izzy early this year (after several years off of riding), I lost that feeling. Yesterday, I had it back. Instead of feeling like an inverted pendulum precariously perched on a pony, I was on Izzy and I felt secure and comfortable. I've never felt that way on her before.
The weather was so nice that when I got done with Izzy, I got Cassie out to ride. At this point, a lessoner had showed up, so Cassie and I just played lesson pony and slopped along behind the lesson, copying what they did and staying out of the way at the same time. Cassie was lovely. I didn't try to make her doing anything because she's getting older and stiff and hasn't been in regular work, but she was really, really good for w/t/c both directions.
What a wonderful day.
It snowed last night, so I think we'll head over to the Thought Bubble of Doom later this morning. Cross your fingers for us.
Also, I just have to throw in a note on my tack. Izzy looks fabulous in her fancy bridle, and I am LOVING my ansur saddle. I rode Izzy and Cassie in it and both went well because they're so comfortable with it. Treeless for the win!