Jude had time to come out and see Indy so I picked her up about 8.15 this morning - it looked like the day was going to be spectacular and I didn't really want to be out in the heat of midday & the afternoon.
Indy was pretty good to catch and only needed to be asked a couple of times to lower her head. She was pretty good to brush, despite Sam having taken Hunter out to groundwork/ride (Indy was busy trying to listen to whatever it was that Hunter was doing!).
Ian wasn't around so we headed for the arena to start some groundwork. Indy was a little unsettled and kept trying to watch and go over to see Hunter, so I put her out on one line. She has improved amazingly! I asked for some trot which, as Trisha emailed the other day, REALLY helps her stretch out in the walk afterwards. I was quite careful that her trot wasn't too short and choppy. On her right, the 'stiffer' rein, I had to stay a lot closer to her and work a little harder to keep the contact consistent. Her trot is also a little more "airy-fairy" in the sense that she doesn't have as much impulsion or direction. Still, big changes, so I was very happy. After trotting to the right her walk was incredible; so long as I focussed on staying centred, changing my rotation and keeping the connection on the line, she would track up with her hind feet and for a few steps she even overtracked.
I swapped from right to left again, then a tiny bit more on the right. Then I heard Ian out on the quad so asked him to unlock the tack room and got her ready to ride. She was a lot better with bringing her head down on command for the various ropes/reins/bridle straps to be put over her head, and even looked to open her mouth for the bit (huuuge difference from us almost having to feed her to get her to "unlock" her closed jaw).
I did a little with two reins (holding both the CR rope and the reins) and some little turn on the forehand stuff before mounting. The TOF is coming along nicely, too: last week all I was looking for was an inclination, now she offers a step or sometimes two, though all I want is one step before I let her walk.
She stood very nicely for me to mount from the arena fence - well, the 2nd time! The first time I had her lined up and my foot in the stirrup, she decided Mavis & the cows just had to be in front of her, but once she was looking their direction she was happy for me to mount from the right.
I asked for a few nice circles and changes of rein. Her stopping is much softer. She doesn't need quite as much help from my rotation to bend. Her bend is smoother, and she can maintain the direction we're going even when she wants to look somewhere else. She gets less stuck through the changes of rein.
She offered trot a couple of times so I asked her to walk again, as her trot is just too short for her to think that's what we want. She managed the downwards transitions nicely.
To finish, I asked for some TOF (half a step) in both directions.
Untacking, she even offered to lower her head for me to take off the bridle, which is FABULOUS progress! It seems that she is starting to understand every. single. time. we ask, she needs to put her head down, or we will just keep asking until she does. So the cheeky pony got a carrot for her effort.
Letting her go in the paddock was almost as good - she put her head straight down and left it down for me to take off the halter, then stood to eat two half carrots, rather than charging off after the first mouthful had been snatched. She only took a couple of steps when she did leave before looking back for more ;)
Maybe my musings the other night that she would not be staying if I had to put up with this "nah, I can't be bothered being caught today" rubbish for too long made a difference... ;)
Photos from last Sunday are awesome but yet to be loaded. I will also flick through the ones that Jude took today.