We had a productive ride last night! After the slight chaos that was our lessons last weekend, I went in with the goal of a calm, quiet ride with good lines and turns over the cloverleaf exercise; if she spooked, my goal would change to be keeping myself in charge, bending her away from the spooky thing, and insisting on my line, my pace, etc.
I also had in mind something I read on one of y'all's blogs (Little Red Mare, maybe?) the other day: the talk given by top riders on riding green horses. They all agreed that especially with a green horse, you set a goal, and when your goal is achieved, you stop. I don't know that Reveille is as green as the horses they were talking about, but she's definitely emerald at the center. :)
The other thing I did to give myself a better chance of achieving my goal was to put the running martingale attachment on. She'd been tossing her head to avoid contact again this last weekend, so it seemed like a good idea to add a little to the "plant your hands in her neck when she does that" solution. Tonight she started out tossing a little, but the hand-planting combined with the martingale took good care of that. I made sure to keep my hands as soft and my contact as consistent and elastic as I could.
Warming up slowly, until she has a nice, free, swinging walk, really helps us both. Even if everyone else in the arena is trotting already, I need to let Rev warm up at her pace. Pushing it leads to pissiness -- letting her free up her back and shoulder leads to a much more pleasant ride. An obvious sort of thing, but ... well, there you have it. Need to be sure to have enough time to warm up correctly.
The cloverleaf exercise went really well, which was a bit unsurprising after taking all those preliminary steps. Sit up and kick -- check. Straight lines that I choose -- check. Turns as balanced as we're capable of -- check. Soften hands on approach to pole -- check! That helped a lot. I even remembered which way to turn. ;) So all that, plus the fact that I couldn't find my inhaler yesterday morning and was having breathing issues, added up to a short-ish ride.
Short was a-ok, though. Reveille's attitude when we were riding and when we were done was soft, willing, and interested, instead of irritated and resistant. I wasn't sheepish or exhausted (despite my breathing hard!), and it was a good feeling. That's my main goal for the next few rides: that attitude.
And this morning? New winter gloves. SFLTS to the rescue! And only $15, too! Hooray!