Have to admit my confidence was shaken the last time I rode Cici. She seemed so determined to do things her way and I was only along for the ride.
On Wednesday I played with her and she was RB. Got completely unconfident out on the circle and would take off in straight lines. I had her do a lot of stopping, backing and change of directions. At one point I tried to stop her on the circle and waved the carrot stick in front her and she exploded. Hmmm how interesting.
Stayed online that day, no saddling, no mounting. I now have tools I can use and I can feel confident!
Today, Thursday we played outside in the ring. She was snorting but still listened. Her nostrils where crinkled and uneven. She had a nice trot but kept looking in asking Can I come in now? I don't feel very confident out here. I kept her out for 4 circles and then brought her in. Her questioning was very interesting to me. I sent her back out and she cantered easily in both direction. Comfortable controlled canter.
Even with her snorting she walked the circle with the belly of the rope on the ground and stayed walking until I asked for trot. She even at one point decided to roll! So how could she be feeling unconfident - snorting, nostrils - and feel confident enough to roll?!?! This bouncing back and forth across that fine line makes my head spin.
Went back to the indoor to saddle up. Took three tries LOL. First time saddle knocked the pad off. Second time kind of alright but needed to be adjusted so I walked her over to the mounting block with the saddle kinda of precariously balanced on her back. She dropped her shoulder and dumped saddle and pad on the ground. Third try was the charm. Okay I held onto the saddle while I walked her to the mounting block. Now I understand the true importance of driving from Zone 3!
Mary came into the indoor with the tractor to do some work. I thought that's fine I need to do more ground work with Cici before I mount. So we work with the tractor going. Cici was again concerned, unconfident, head up, nostrils flared. Its interesting what I notice now. Nostrils crinkled. Holding her breathe or snorting. I just took my time. Drove from Zone 3 and 4, circled both directions.
I finally put her bridle on and since Mary was still tractoring did more driving from Zone 3 - holding onto the stirrup. So this was something new - bridle, saddle and still ground work. We walk. I ask for lateral flexion. Hmm, bit of brace then she gives. Waiting for her to breath. I am still debating about getting on.
Mary finally leaves and while standing at the mounting block Cici finally takes a deep breath, blows all over me and finally licks and chews. I decided to mount. So we do our little dance and I mount from the right. Who is training whom?
Cici just stands while I mount and after I am mounted. Just stand there at the mounting block. Enjoying the feel of the saddle. Waiting for a lick and chew. I'm looking around, thinking it is nice to be on her back again. We wait. She lowers her head and chews. Yes!
I lift the reins and she walks off, confident, but not too forceful a walk. She picks out a cone next to the wall at the end of the arena and walks to it. Touches it and waits. I wait. She waits. We wait. Another chew and I lift the reins and ask her to walk on. She does. No argument. I lift the rein again and bend to a stop. Okay not perfect, bit of argument, bit of brace, but compared to where we have been this is heaven. By god I think she's got it!
I tell her when she is bracing that all she has to do is give me a soft release and I'll get off. She does, I do.
Decisions, part 2
3 hours ago