Faeryn’s mane has been pretty unmanageable ever since she had enough mane to flip to one side. It’s thick like her mother’s, and refuses to ‘pick a side.’ I’ve braided and ‘trained’ it to stay to one side numerous times over the years. It stays for awhile, and then reverts back to its wild ways. To make things worse, she absolutely hates having it pulled. And she doesn’t hate mane pulling quietly and politely. 😉 She views it as ‘torture’ (she is a drama queen) and therefore sees no reason why she should cooperate with the process. Since it’s such a battle (although it’s gotten better since I started bribing her with ‘cookies’), her mane is always just a little too long and thick for a ‘proper’ dressage horse. Her unkempt, tousled mane prompted me to nickname her ‘my little surfer girl’ when she was a two year old, and it stuck. She hasn’t had a proper mane pulling since May and when I ride her I have a bird’s eye view to her increasingly unruly hairstyle. To a “mom,” it’s an endearing sight. 😉
She was very good this evening. I am ‘raising the bar’ with an eye to being ready to show her second level at schooling shows next year. From the notes on our test at last week’s schooling show, I need to ride her more forward into the canter – to avoid those ‘bucky’ departs where she pops her butt up into the canter before her front end. And I also need to ride her more forward into the downward transition from canter to trot so she doesn’t fall on her forehand and also, again, doesn’t pop up in the rear. I can feel her doing it — I almost feel like I have to post the first stride she takes when coming down to trot from canter.
This evening I was able to successfully get her to go more forward into the canter – she had a few departs that were ‘butt first’ but not many. I was even more successful in driving her forward through the canter/trot transition and keeping her ‘up’ in front. And I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but her trot lengthenings were much better this evening. I could really feel her shoulders coming up in front more than usual. And just for kicks, I did a few canter/walk transitions. Well, they’re not TRUE canter/walk transitions yet – she has a few trot strides – but that’s how it starts. Baby steps.
What a good little surfer girl!