I rode Rajiyyah today for the first time in several weeks. She was surprisingly good. Last time I rode her, the barn owner suggested that I needed to either keep constant contact with her mouth or ride on a very loose rein.
After doing some ground work, we tacked up. We started on a loose rein and walked around the arena. She relaxed and seemed to enjoy herself. Her neck was loose and relaxed and her head bobbed (which is great because it indicates she is relaxed). After a little while, I took up contact with the reins and she put her head up and hollowed her back. Her stride became short and choppy. I followed every movement she made with her head and neck. If she raised her head or stretched her neck out, my hands raised or reached forward to maintain steady contact. She eventually relaxed and accepted the contact (HUGE improvement!) at the walk and then at the trot. When she accepted the contact, I could see her neck muscles relax and her head lower. Instead of being upright and her back hollow (which feels like riding a horse whose feet are not underneath you), her feet felt underneath her. Her back swayed and she took longer steps. It was awesome. 🙂 The biggest breakthrough was getting her to do the same thing even at the trot. it wasn’t continuous. The trot has always been a lot harder to get her to relax. This was the first time she relaxed even a little bit at the trot. Most of the time there was only a glimpse of her accepting the contact, but it’s a huge start. Every time we ride, we’ll get a little more and a little more consistent.