I was back in the saddle again yesterday after the usual lesson break over the summer. I can definitely feel that today; we were just two students in the lesson, so we got quite the workout. But it was great to be back on a horse, especially since I got to ride Barka. She did start off rather opinionated—even for her!—and tried to ignore my leg aids as she just curled herself up behind the bit. Our instructor told me that she has been turning increasingly “mare-ish” of late; meaning, she needs a carefully balanced dose of determination and politeness from the rider.
Fortunately, I like horses with opinions and after a while we came to some passable agreements; she’d start moving forward on her own, I’d stop bothering her quite so much with my aids. Of course, there was still the matter of keeping all her body parts under control and making sure she was actually straight through the whole body. And once she’d stopped pulling back behind the bit, I had to readjust a bit mentally and remember to keep my reins quite short to give her proper support on her left side.
Her walk is definitely the hardest gait to work with as she does have a tendency to lose momentum and not really move through her whole body. The trot is quite good, I think, and yesterday the canter worked really well too. The transitions can be so-so, but the work we did yesterday—which included a lot of transitions as well as some lateral work—helped Barka stay together and get more explosive.
A little too explosive at times, mind you, but I am getting used to the occasional bit of bucking being thrown in. I hope the riding school is able to keep her—she has issues with dust allergies—because she really suits me quite nicely, both in terms of her body type and her personality.