Since Zola is only doing minimal exercise – we are still in actual training, not conditioning, mode – I decided to ride her yesterday.
I didn’t lunge her to judge her mood, just took her to the mounting block to get on. As yesterday, she didn’t really stand still but it wasn’t hard to get on. She seemed very focused and really resisted stopping even after I was on and asked her from the saddle. Deciding to skip this for the moment – I liked the fact that moving forward has penetrated as something I want – I steered her to the track. As we entered the track she was walking with a lot of energy and never hesitated as we passed her normal balking spot. She did think about stopping as we entered the backstretch, but a quick “get up” kept her moving.
She seemed full of energy and as we hit the far turn she broke into a trot – her decision. Her head was up and it took a good deal of tension on the reins to hold her to a trot. It was not a relaxed and soft trot. I pulled her back to walk mid “stretch”.
We started our second lap without incident, and had a couple almost stops which were quickly averted. I asked Zola for a trot by clucking, which she really seems to dislike – I get ears back, head up, balking, and a dirty look. Still we can’t walk forever, so I asked again, this time with 2 taps on the right shoulder. And it worked! Zola trotted quite nicely, relaxed, with her head in a normal position, and minimal rein pressure. We maintained down the last half of the backstretch, around the far turn, and I brought her back to a walk about mid stretch.
At that point I turned her around and we went back the other way. I asked for another trot as we approached the clubhouse turn. And again Zola responded well. Which is good, as there will be no galloping until trotting is all relaxed and on a loose rein. We ended with a walk and I was quite profuse in my praise. Was another good ride – and one in which we continued to make progress.