In my blog post last week I wrote that I had reached a milestone, and I was excited. I was going to start Cantering, and indeed did a little of that in my lesson. I was planning to do more when I rode Wednesday, but due to high winds and a terribly spooked horse, I opted to do only ground work that day. On Friday I went to the barn early, and as luck would have it Trainer was just finishing up her short ride on a young horse.
We had previously discussed her riding Pippi, at my urging, to give Trainer a chance to see what Pippi is like. So on Friday, after warming up on a lunge line, Pippi was ridden by Trainer for a few minutes. The minutes stretched into 20, and plans were changed. Bit was exchanged for a harder bit, and cantering was taken off the table for the time being. So........
Trainer has asked me several times if Pippi is still heavy in my hands, and I have answered no ("not as heavy as before", I should have said). Trainer says she is still leaning way too much. Trainer likes my soft hands, and does not want Pippi to teach me to be heavy handed, and so the twisted snaffle bit will teach Pippi to stop leaning without changing my hands. It will be Pippis' choice to lean on the bit, or not. (after swapping bits, Pippi already chose "not") We had been using this bit for a while, but I swapped back, probably too soon, because I feel bad about using a harsher bit. Pippi clearly needs a longer period with this thing.
Pippi also loses impulsion the moment you ask for a bend, because of her hard mouth you have to keep nagging her to bend, and so she slows. Ask, kick, ask, kick, it's exhausting. Not good, so there may be spurs in our future as well. Yikes. Pippi has been ridden with spurs before, so I am sure she will react fine. Nothing outrageous of course, just the regular blunt English riding spurs.
Anyway, it was awesome to see Pippi ridden by Trainer. Trainer is so clear with her intentions, and Pippi knew instantly that this lady meant business. After they were done, Pippi was quite snugly and stood really close to me. The look on her face was so funny, like "I'm sorry, I'll do better, just don't let her ride me again." When we swapped bits, Pippis' entire body changed. Her barrel lifted and muzzle tucked in. She was on the bit, but not leaning on it. Awesome!!
I also rode her with the twisted bit, and it was so much easier. Because she had improved so much from pulling my arms out of my sockets, I had no idea she could get even softer. Today we have a new lesson. and I am looking forward to it very much. I forgot to bring the spurs, but either way Pippi better be ready!!