Friday, July 31, 2009

Ok, Now What?

I talked with the masseuse today. She said that Izzy's back is absolutely fine, but her poor lil' bum was sore, most likely from all the rearing she did on Tuesday.


I'm about halfway through Joyce Harman's "Horse's Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book" that I got at the library last night. It's an excellent book that I highly recommend buying even if you're not having troubles with saddle fit. As a result of my reading, I decided that Izzy's saddle might be sliding forward which jams it into her shoulders. This morning, following advice from the book, I attached the girth to the front two billets instead of the first and third. I also scooted the saddle back when we switched directions lunging. The sweat marks were much more regular when our workout was done.

All that would mean something if her back was sore at all. If it was hurting her, if there was a physical problem, it would show. It doesn't. She's completely relaxed. The masseuse didn't even charge me because there was nothing to really work on. Izzy loves to have her back curried, hard. I even lunged her for about half an hour today, then rode just a tiny bit at the walk, then had the masseuse look at her and still nothing. Izzy was thrilled with all the attention, though. I'll ask Cathy about ulcers and other possible internal causes, but this mare lives out in a pasture with a friend 24/7. She doesn't get worked up about much. Everything I've done with her has been slow and easy, because she's not a terribly quick learner.

So. Now what? She hasn't given me any trouble mounting since Tuesday, but I've only been on her twice, both times after a very long period on the lunge. I don't want to cause her pain, but she's not in pain. The masseuse did mention that she might be cold-backed, and gave me something to do before I saddle her that should help. I dunno. It's starting to look almost like Izzy's tried to revert back to her days with her previous owner, where she learned some cool tricks about scaring people. She's a smart girl, and she learned that when she was naughty, she didn't have to work. She'd never done that for me, but it could be that I was starting to push her a little and she wanted to scare me in to backing off.

Is that so unreasonable? I guess I'll try for a more normal ride tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rest Day

A shot from the glorious ribbon show. We are the farthest from the camera. **I realize I look like a total chunk in this picture, but I promise it's mostly the baggy polo. I'm not in fabulous shape, but I'm not obese like I look there.**

The pretty ribbons, waiting to be won.

Miss Izzy is scheduled for her massage tonight. I didn't want to get on her today, just in case there was residual pain. As such, I got her out, groomed her, and re-pulled her mane. I leave it a little long most of the time since we're not showing, but today I brought it back to almost show length. I screwed around with a couple different saddles, trying to see what fit her.

The trouble is that in all the books I read, general saddle fitting guidelines are provided, but for more specific information, you are supposed to contact a worthy local saddler. This is a great idea. A saddler knows both saddles and horses and knows what to look for. The only trouble is that I live in IDAHO. There aren't really even saddlers for Western horses out here; forget that fancy english crap. I spent a while looking yesterday, and the nearest ones I could find were in British Columbia and Southern California.

I just don't have that kind of money.

Cathy checked my saddle fit for me today after I spent 40 minutes fiddling around with three different saddles and different padding arrangements. She said that my lovely leather saddle that I love fits her quite well, which was my initial assessment as well. It was also the assessment of the trainer who I bought it from who looked pretty closely at it. The fact remains that she had odd sweat marks indicating pressure on Tuesday after her lunging for a long time. To an amateur, this leaves two possibilities. Either my flat pad and my gel pad added too much bulk and changed a fitting saddle to a non-fitting saddle or the saddle slid forward while lunging and jammed up against her shoulders. I think both are entirely possible.

When I lunged her today in a halter with my saddle by only a square pad and the firth fairly loose, I did notice that it slipped forward. I scooted it back, and I think that helped, but she didn't sweat too much, and it was hard to tell. My next option is that the chiropractor comes out in a few weeks, and theoretically, he's pretty good at saddle fitting and whatnot. Now I just have to save my pennies to pay him.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The more I think about it, the more I think that I really caused the problem we had yesterday by not listening to Izzy because I didn't trust what she was telling me. She does some nervous cribbing when I put her girth on. I thought that was because I used too short of a girth once and tightened it right away, but it could have been her letting me know that she didn't like the saddle. She didn't want to stand by the block because she was uncomfortable. I had to carry a whip to get her to go forward because her back wasn't comfortable?

Maybe the last one is a stretch. It's hard to say. Cathy recommended using a different pad with my saddle that lifts the front a bit. I think I'll put it on her tomorrow or Friday, and just lunge her in it. The sweat pattern should tell me if that changed the fit to something more comfortable without me sitting in it to add pressure. I'll recheck the fit of both my saddles, and probably lunge her in the wintec the next day to see the sweat pattern from that one. My friend the masseuse is going to check her back Thursday night and let me know what she finds. I'm trading her tack cleaning for that, which is wonderful.

I'm really concerned about this... if it is just a pain thing, I don't mind working through it. We'll eliminate the pain and she should go back to normal or even be better. If, on the other hand, this was largely an attitude problem, then I don't know what to do. I can deal with a lot of vices, but I don't really want to mess with a rearing horse. That's just bad news waiting to happen. In my mind, I keep making Izzy the saint and me the horrible first time owner who didn't notice all the signs, but I'm tempted to wonder if that's true. Is she too far gone? What then? I could hardly sell a horse like that. I can afford some training, but not indefinitely. I'd want to send her to a trainer before this became a major issue, but I wouldn't want her to go and be good for them, and then start up for me again.

On the bright side, Cathy seems to think I can deal with it. She's worked with me for like 11 years now, and she has a good grasp on my abilities. I do ride in the morning when she does most of her training, so I usually have some form of supervision and I can always ask her for advice. She's not at an age where she just wants to hop on a horse like this, but she's trained me long enough to trust me to do it.

If only I trusted myself as much... I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh my god. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod!!

The title is simply what a fellow boarder said this morning. It precisely describes how I felt for a few seconds.

Everything started out normally. I got Izzy ready, trying to keep in mind some of the concepts discussed in "The Horse Behavior Problem Solver" by Jessica Jahiel. It's a new book I'm reading through. Izzy did just fine on the lunge line; just went along like she was supposed to. She was a little lazy, but that's normal for her.

She's been a little fussy about standing by the mounting block lately. She would walk up to within a few feet of it, then just stop. I wrote it off to her knowing that she was supposed to stop somewhere and just wanting to stop on her terms. It's something we've been working on. So when she was fussy today, I didn't think any more of it than I usually do. She doesn't like to line up right, then doesn't want to step over. As usual, I just made a mental note that we need to continue working on ground work to get her to listen to my aids more.

When I mounted, she immediately tried to walk forward. I stopped her, albeit more with rein than with my seat. I was a bit annoyed. She knows to stand, but she's rather pushy, due to being spoiled by her previous owner. As I fumbled for my right stirrup, she flipped her head once, something she does usually when I've stymied her attempt to get away with something. Before my foot was even fully in the right stirrup, Izzy's barrel rose under me. This is where I insert the "Oh my god. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod!!"

My initial reaction lasted about .1 seconds. It's the same feeling as when I know I've done something wrong and I'm falling. There is a brief moment of terror, and then I try to figure out what to do. I've been reading a little bit about rearing lately, but I've never, ever been on a rearing horse before. I knew immediately that the worst possible thing Izzy could do would be fall over back wards with me. She landed her first rear, then immediately when up again.

For some reason, I didn't have a hold of the reins to turn her and send her forward. I don't remember dropping them, but I must have. I think it's better that way. I hadn't mentally prepared for a situation like this, and I might have pulled back, even though I know that's the worst possible thing to do. As she went up for the second time, I noticed that I had a strangle hold on the neckstrap that I've put on her every single time I've ridden her. Thank God.

She went up a second time, then a third time. The rears didn't seem incredibly high to me, but it was kind of hard to judge from my angle. It was enough that I had absolutely no control. As she went up the fourth time, I realized that my left foot was quite steadily in my stirrup. Without further ado, I demonstrated an emergency dismount to make the ex-pony-clubber in me proud. I nearly landed on my feet, too. That would have been incredible.

As I collapsed in a heap near the rail, Izzy turned and trotted off to visit the horse on the far side of the arena. My first thought was, "Oh crap, I hope she doesn't break the reins," as she lowered her head to snatch some of his hay. I wasn't even really shook up, and I doubt I'll be sore tomorrow.

Cathy (my trainer) was in the arena and witnessed most of this. As I led Izzy back from the other horse and his hay, we consulted. She is a hard horse to rattle. Aside from the occasional spook, she's really not too bothered. Clearly, she wasn't overly bothered by this, either. That's a little unfortunate, as it means she might try again. We think the reason was actually from yesterday; while at our "show" we sat on our horses and judged each other for 25-30 minutes. That's not an extraordinary amount of time, but Izzy's back is probably a little bit sore because she's not used to having me just sit on her. Our theory is a combination of back pain and attitude.

As such, I lunged her again for 20 minutes or so, dealing with the attitude problems that came up by continuing to send her forward instead of letting her let me know when she wanted to be done. I then had Cathy stand by while I mounted Izzy from a block in the middle of the arena. I wanted her right there to yell at me if something went wrong, and she thought it would be best if Izzy was not restrained. I also didn't want the option of landing on the fence, as last time we were perilously close to it.

I understand that it's not a good idea to mount a horse with a sore back. If she were Cassie, or another older, seasoned horse, then I wouldn't even have attempted it. I would simply have listened to what they were trying to tell me and put them away with a nice scoop of grain mixed with anti-inflammatory and some rest. Because Izzy is still early in her education, however, and because she's used to being able to push people around, I thought it was important to make sure she understood that rearing is not acceptable. I stood on the block and rubbed her hips and shoulders just like I was mounting a baby for the first time. She was quiet, so I got on. When I had both stirrups, we walked off. We did a 10m circle each way, and then I got off. I immediately pulled her saddle off. Cathy checked her and said her back was a little sore, but nothing that should have prompted so dramatic a response.

She has tomorrow off. I'm going out Thursday, but I think I'll just do groundwork and some lunging. After that, we'll see about it. I have a friend who used to be a horse masseuse, so maybe I'll see if she'll work on Izzy a little. I have a lot to think about, though. I guess I have to wait and see if her back feeling better will clear up the problem or if she's now learned a cool trick that makes riding not happen. I sure hope not. :-/

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grand Champion!

Izzy and I competed in our first ever dressage show this morning. We won.

Of course, you have to understand that this show was organized by our barn dressage team for our barn dressage team. We made our own ribbons and judged each other in foreign accents. I did Intro Test A.

All this because we wanted to win "neck ribbons". Last night, we went to Walmart and bought a bunch of ribbon. We measured the horses and made the ribbons, and this morning, we rode our tests while Cathy took pictures. It was really quite hilarious, but it was a good experience for Izzy. There were five of us riding around in the arena warming up, which simulated an actually (miniature) show environment. She also had to stand along the rail and wait for everyone to finish riding, since we went first. I will post pictures as soon as they're available, but they aren't on my camera.

For now, enjoy the pictures of the ribbon I made.

Also, in the middle of the test, right before the free walk, Izzy had a massive spook, which I rode. She also calmed down right away after it. Hooray confidence builder!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Show Name

I've been trying to come up with a show name for Izzy. I don't really like her registered name. Nothing seemed to work. Everything I thought of was either too nerdy, too pretentious, or too obscure.

Last night, my husband recommended one that I think I might use: Wishful Thinking.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby Daddy

No, I haven't bred Miss Izzy. I just realized that I wanted to post a picture of the crush I have for her. She's sort of met him (they were at the same show), and of course, she's in love with him. She's a silly little hussy though. She's pretty much in love with every stallion and gelding she's ever met. The only one she takes exception to is the stupid ugly donkey that's out at the barn. I guess I shouldn't call him stupid; he's very intelligent, but he is ugly and he's always getting out. Also, he's a stud. The other day, he got out while I was leading Izzy to the hitching post, and he tried to mount her. She kicked him really hard twice, and he gave up, but still. My poor girl was almost raped by a donkey. How horrid.

Without further ago, here's her potential baby daddy:

The next two pictures are of him, too. He's a 16.2 Dutch Harness Horse named Vini Vidi Vicchi (not sure on the spelling). Fancy mover, so the baby wouldn't be much of a hunter, but the stallion jumps like a dream. Also, he's apparently gentle and easy to get along with, which would be nice to add to Izzy's temperament.

Sigh. Maybe in a few years. I keep dreaming about them wanting to have a warmblood baby on the ground, so they offer free breeding, but really? I don't think that's likely. I can't be this lucky at everything I do.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I'm curious on this topic. What should we expect our horses to be ok with and and what is too much? At home, I like things to be pretty quiet. I understand that show environments are different, but I just want my horse to relax and focus. At the same time, I get her used to Plastic bags, tents, jumps, traffic, tarps, and other miscellaneous things. All of those are pretty typical obstacles to focusing, and Izzy's pretty used to them. (Don't ask about water buckets next to the arena; she finds those fascinating for some odd reason.)

The other day, however, when I was riding, my barn owner's husband came out of the house and started playing fetch with his labrador. The arena we ride in is shielded by trees on two sides, so Izzy never saw the dog coming. She was trotting along and it appeared out of nowhere running at full speed after a ball. Although the dog never left the yard and came in the arena, it was pretty scary for her. A part of me says that she should be ok with dogs running around, but a friend of mine claims that what this man did was both dangerous and thoughtless. Is it too much to ask a prey animal to continue trotting around while it sees it's predator running full-tilt at it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Princess Hats

Izzy was wonderful today. For the first time ever, we walked, trotted, and cantered both ways on the correct leads. There was no rearing on the lunge line and no fighting with the bit. It was lovely.

Then, Michelle and I went to the tack store and I got my girls crusader fly masks with ears. So fancy. They both thought they were princesses, though Cassie's joy was a bit short lived. I switched her into a pen and put Ellie, a sweet Hanoverian mare, out with Izzy. I feel bad for Cassie, but it's for the best. Izzy gets picked on too much, and Ellie never pins her ears at anyone. Hopefully, they can be buddies.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I went and checked out the other boarding facility today. It's a little smaller than I expected, but I like it. There are only 10-15 horses, instead of 25. The owner/manager is very nice and thorough. She appreciates the smallness of what she has, and isn't interested in having tons of boarders because she likes the quiet and lack of stress she has now.

We're pretty much set to go. I was quite happy with it, and she said she likes to keep a few pens open, so she should have space for us in the winter. She's totally fine with me wanting to be there for just a few months, and is cool with letting me use my own trainer/farrier/vet.

I'm quite happy. As for coming back to our current barn in March or April, that shouldn't be a problem. I figure that I'll just keep working for Cathy through the winter, so she'll have the same amount of help with one less horse to feed. Win-win.

Speaking of Cathy (she's my trainer), she rode Miss Izzy today. She was having an uncharacteristically unscheduled day, so I asked her to. It was educational. We talked about where Izzy is at. I thought we were behind because I'm really not pushing her. I got her in February, rode for the first time in March, kinda laid off in April, and have been working her very regularly in June and July. As you're probably aware, she still has trouble lunging and we just started cantering. Cathy actually thinks we're doing fine. She has several horses in training right now that just take longer. You can't rush them. Ironically, I think they're all related to Izzy, too. It's her dad's side kicking in. Her mother learns much faster.

So anyways. I tacked up Izzy and lunged her. Cathy rode her, and had pretty much the same problems that I do with her. It was nice to know that. I think it means I'm doing ok. Basically, though, Cathy said that I need to let her get away with less. When she puts up a fuss, I need to make her keep working instead of backing off to avoid conflict.

Nothing like a horse that challenges our character weaknesses...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cantering Off into the Sunrise

Well, at least one word in the title is true. We had our first canter early Sunday morning. It was just a few strides, but it was lovely. We also discovered a nice, big trot. Izzy is such a nice mover that she's really a joy to ride.

Today, we cantered a whole circle on the left lead, but we haven't tried the right yet. I want her to be a little more balanced and comfortable before I ask for something that will be harder for her.

We might go to a tiny little schooling dressage show early next month and ride an intro test. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New Idea

As I was perusing craigslist the other day, I found an ad for boarding at a facility with an indoor arena. Now don't misunderstand me; I love my trainer, love my barn, and ever like most of my fellow boarders. That said, it sure would be nice to be able to ride in the winter when the weather is crap, since we do not have an indoor arena. Out of curiosity, I emailed the people and googled their facility.

It actually looks nice and they sound competent. According to their email, they provide all the services that we get now (feeding, mucking, turnout). I'm intrigued. I wouldn't switch barns permanently, especially because they specialize in gaited horses, which while interesting, doesn't really get us anywhere. It would be so wonderful, though, to have somewhere to ride in Jan/Feb and maybe March, while the weather is rotten.

So... I'm going to go visit on Wednesday, I think. If I like the facility, the people, and everything feels right, and they end up having a spot for us at that time, we may be trying something new. I'd probably still work for Cathy to hold my spot at her barn, but the facilities aren't that far apart, so commuting between them shouldn't be a problem.

Any recommendations for questions to ask?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


We did lots of transitions again today. I have to focus pretty hard with her because (like her mother) she likes to pull me forward when we do downward transitions. I petted her and told her she was a good girl after a nice transition, and let her stand and think after a halt. I think it helped. She's no longer the horse that absolutely doesn't respond to aids. Instead, I just squeeze my legs and off we go.

So much better.

I went to the tack store today to get myself some new breeches. I only ever have one pair and I buy a new one about every 2-3 years, roughly the same time the old pair has holes in the leg, crotch, or both. The jumping boots I was coveting were still there, so I bought them, too... She doesn't even jump yet. I don't know if she'll like it or be good at it, but they were half the normal price and exactly what I wanted. I couldn't get a better price online, and yes, Brent will shake his head at me. Anytime I have to justify something like this, he knows I didn't necessarily need it. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Well, Hopefully That's Over

I stuck to my plan for this morning. Izzy ran for almost 10 minutes, then I tacked her up quickly. I left off her splint boots and just brushed her off quickly instead of doing a thorough job and making her spotless.

We did so much better. She didn't rear on the lunge. I just put her out there, sent her forward, and as soon as we had walked, trotted, and cantered both ways, we were done. When I got on, we did transitions. Lots of them. I tried to ask for a transition every 5 or 10 steps, so she had to think constantly. At the same time, because we were the only ones in the arena, I got to focus more on my position and aids then on not getting hit by people who should be able to steer. We're still just doing walk/trot stuff, but I think we're getting to a place where cantering won't be unreasonable.

I realized yesterday that the turn on the forehand that Cathy had us work on is actually the prelude to lateral work. Perfect! I need to get Izzy moving off my leg a little bit, so we worked on this too.

All in all, a successful training day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I found the trailer I want. It's a white two horse slant with a tack room for $3500. I keep watching trailers on craigslist so that when I'm actually in the market, I'll know what I'll need to spend. This one is perfect (from the description), except that I'm not actually in the market. I have neither a tow vehicle nor $3500. Oh well. Birthday present, anyone? ;-)

There must be something in the water. Both my girls were extremely naughty today. Cassie kept pretending that everything was going to eat her and absolutely wouldn't focus, and Izzy... I don't even know what to say. I'm going to have to call it our worst day ever, at risk of sounding bipolar. I promise, I'm not. She kept rearing on the lunge line (going right and left). I finally quit trying. I just dropped the whip, put her on a like a 5 meter circle, and when she made it twice around without rearing, we stopped. Then I went to ride. I probably shouldn't have. I was already aggravated with her, and there were way too many other boarders capitalizing on the nice weather. There's nothing like trying to ride a young horse with minimal steering around other buffoons when the young horse is already acting up.

There were some positive moments. We started walking over poles. Her steering is getting a little better.

Other than that, she kept hauling on the reins, then leaning through her should, then getting stuck, then not stopping, then tossing her her, then spooking and tripping over herself... It was frustrating.

Nothing like mares.

To fix the problem, I'm going to go out tomorrow and get Izzy out first. I usually have about 20-25 minutes to myself before other people start showing up. I'll turn her out in the arena to run. Then, I'll tack up quickly and try to get some riding in before the arena gets busy. That should alleviate her issues. I'm thinking that even though she lives out in a pasture, she just really needs to blow off some steam. If I lunge her and she starts acting up, I'll just do what I did today: drop the whip, just get around a small circle, and quit. I don't want her to make an issue of it.

Ugh. Cross your fingers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Best Day Ever!

I rode Saturday and Sunday, so I'm giving Miss Izzy the day off today. She was so good yesterday. It was amazing. Every once in a while, we have days like this which I call "Best Day Ever". The nice thing is that we're in a place in our training where this happens a lot. Saturday was our new best day ever, then Sunday was better. What makes it so good?

We trotted figure eights. That's right. She can hold her gait and change bend and direction. We are starting to be able to steer, and she's not leaning through her right shoulder as atrociously.

She did rear on the lunge again, even without me putting pressure on her. It was cute (at least, as cute a a 1000+ pound animal can be while acting up), kind of like she was trying to tell me she didn't want to work. I've been thinking about it, tough, and I'm considering not lunging her most of the time. She's quiet and non-spooky more or less. I can usually tell if she's going to act up, so as long as she seems fine and is doing regular work, maybe I won't lunge her.

My rather unconventional lunging philosophy (I guess) is to allow to the horse to blow off steam (as needed) and warm up a little bit. I watch the horse to see how they're behaving, and with young horses, I get them listening to me by doing a few transitions. When I first started with Izzy, we did lots of trot/canter/trot transitions on the lunge because she wanted to buck as she went up. It could have been a balance thing, it could have been a mental thing. Either way, she doesn't do it any more.

As such, if I think Izzy's going to be quiet, I think I'll chance it and ride her without lunging unless she hasn't been worked the day before or I am introducing something new, either tack or (gasp) a canter transition.

Really. I think we're almost ready.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Picture Time!

She looks cute in the saddle, no?

This one is pretty much like the picture at the top of the page, but not quite the same. I don't know why left side shots are important.

Two Good Days in a Row

I'm reading another book about training young horses right now (I'd say the name if I could remember it). The trouble with books like that is they never tell their readers just how much work is really involved. If you listen to the book, it seems like all you do is hop on and trot away. Half the book is about introduce jumping to a horse. I mean, I do plan to jump as soon as Izzy's ready, but right now we struggle with trotting a straight line and we haven't even started to canter. Plus, all the horses in books seem to be started at ideal times under ideal conditions and never really act up. Izzy, on the other hand, is 6. At least she was never mistreated, so I don't have to contend with mental issues, and she's super lazy, so she doesn't act up much.

She was really good today, though. I'm working on keeping her out on big circles. I noticed that I was using little circles as a crutch to keep her from going forward instead of just trusting her to be her cute, lazy self. She does ok and the straightaway, but then falls through her left shoulder. When she does that, I try to keep her neck soft by doing small changes of bend, tap her lightly on the shoulder with the whip just to remind her what I want her to move, and try to move her to my outside rein with my inside leg. I'm telling myself she's getting better.

She looked absolutely adorable in her ear net. I didn't get a picture of it, since we were trying to do slightly more formal shots, but I probably should get one next time. I was a little confused about putting it on, though. There's this long string that apparently goes under the throatlatch and then ties (?) on the other side of the neck. Or something. I need to do some research to see what it's supposed to do. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It's nice when I can actually see progress. Izzy didn't want to work hard this morning, but again, I was using what we worked on in our lesson and it went well. She resisted a little bit by trying to not go forward, but eventually, we did trot.

Also, the gnats have been bothering her when we ride, so today, I got her a cool little ear net thing to wear. She'll look like a big, fancy show jumper, except for the part about being trained. I also ordered a brass nameplate for the back of my saddle, to cover the part where someone else used to have one. We're getting all classy.

On top of all that, another boarder offered to give me a pair of black beeches. I'm kind of excited... I've never had any color other than tan. Oh, and Michelle and I are going to get our ponies all cleaned up and take pictures tomorrow. Watch for those when I get access to a computer again. I haven't replaced the power cord on my laptop since my beagle at it a few months ago.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Second Lesson

As usually happens, Izzy pretended she had no idea how to trot in our lesson. It was really a little humorous. When I ride by myself, she's pretty responsive. Introduce and instructor, though, and the training goes out the window.

In her defense, we were making her think a bit harder than normal and she was pretty good. She tried to turn in again on the lunge line, but we just kept our circle small and worked through it. I tried not to make and issue of it, and just led her back to the center and started again. I guess that worked ok... so long as she understands that she does have to keep working.

In the lesson itself, we worked on keeping a steady contact with both reins, but especially the outside, as well as getting her to listen to my seat instead of just leaning on my hands and bracing against them. In addition, Cathy wants us to start riding to points in the arena, instead of just wandering around. It will make us more focused and teach her to listen. Oh, and I need to look up. I get nervous, so I stare at her ears and watch that they don't fix on to anything that might cause her to spook. It's silly of me, really. I know that I can ride her when she spooks now. She even spooked once in the lesson, and I stayed on with no trouble. I didn't even grab the neckstrap.

All in all, I'd say we're making progress. After we were done riding, I washed Izzy's tail and braided it. I don't like dirty, matted tails. Also, I want to get her gussied up and do pictures again. I'm going to try to submit a photo to a magazine for a conformation analysis, just to see if we get in... I'm bad at trying to figure that out on my own.
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