I worked Isis in the surcingle and side reins. I need to clean her real saddle. The dressage saddle I’ve been using is too narrow now that she has regained some of her muscles. While I’ve briefly ridden her in the dressage saddle, it isn’t a good idea to do real work on her in it. It sits high on her whithers, which means my position is pushed back and puts weight on the wrong places (like over her kidneys).
Anyway, she was so excited to be in the ring today. Her eyes were wide when I pulled out a cavaletti and set it up near the fence. She was being lunged with purpose: her ears were up, tail was up, and she was into it. I love working with Isis because she can really focus. She has a job and a purpose– and she loves it.
I can’t remember when she was this perfect in a work out. Push button almost (imagine that!). She collected beautifully when the side reins were attached at very light pressure. (Aside: Side reins are used only as a means of encouraging a horse to not stretch their head out — to help them stay on the bit. Some people will use the side reins to cinch the horse’s neck back and teach the horse to move in a false frame. I’ve taught her mostly with my seat and legs to accept the bit. The side reins remind her of my hands when I’m riding: very light contact.)
The first time she went over the cavaletti, she cleared it like it was an oxer: legs tucked up, two foot clearance, and a three or more foot spread. She was having a ball. I didn’t lunge her over the cavaletti every time around. Just enough to keep her interest but not enough to make it routine.
We worked for about 45 minutes. We had a ball. I was so pleased with her.