Yesterday, with Cilla, had it's ups and downs . . . the riding went well and we have made a lot of progress in getting the directions more true and soft. Her interest is always peaked when she has a visual stimulus ie another horse to follow, so we let her do her thing and follow Secret around the arena for a while then we separated and came back - it seemed to work well with the directions being followed much more softly and a minimum support from the out side rein. She responded perfectly and only held a brace momentarily when we changed direction and she couldn't see Secret, I was really pleased to find that after a second or so we went off in the new direction with very little tension in the neck. There is a very visible change in Cilla, very much for the better, and the ridden work is getting firmer.
I find that she needs to be ridden with a very firm focus and objective in mind, whilst I say firm I don't mean she needs to man handled - as the roan and Hancock bloodlines (fun late night reading, that stuff . . . ;)) are just there under the surface looking for an opportunity to come up and she does love to exploit these opportunities. Basically, treat her right and have some respect for the ancestry and colour and she'll develop into an odd relationship that should remain quite addictive . . .
A conversation with H in the car after we had finished proved to be productive . . . need to work out how to make the brain engage and therefore motivate the feet better
Today started with a lot of rain, always fun. So, Cilla and Secret stayed tied up in the barn, ready to go and all tacked up. The delightful Cilla was intent on giving me a little feed back after yesterday. As the rain poured we talked a bit around the Hancock bloodlines and I continued the mantra " Perfect the directions, connect the chin to the feet, engage the brain, focus on the job in hand, know when to stop . . . etc" until H glazed over and I decided that we had better go and get wet and get it over with . . . We got into the arena and I decided that my best course of action, after the feedback was keep it simple, get some ground work in and make it more of challenge - then get indoors and dry off. Some might say I had reckoned on cutting bait rather than fishing . . . . .
Suffice to say it ended well!
A note on her ridden work: She has a fairly steady working pace at a trot and I get the feeling that she feels much more comfortable and secure because others have lacked the necessary minerals to actually explore where her working pace at a canter will take them - and I think it may be the speed of light, hence the rush in to canter that will make some go "Hang on I'm not ready!" and slow back to then trot - keeping it controlled and organised will be the challenge, whilst letting her work it out for herself! Cilla has never really learnt to hold herself and/or push herself either mentally or physically - hence the lack of maturity in the rides.