Lately it seems that any serious flat / Dressage work with Ruby ends up being a real CTJ (Come To Jesus) session. She resists and evades, I insist, she resists and evades, I insist harder and eventually she gives in, softens and gives me what I want. But we seem to have to go through this struggle first, it's just part of the ride. I am asking a lot more of her these days and she is hoping that she can blow me off and just do what she wants. But I have her number now, so I'm not falling for it. Plus, CrossFit is making me stronger so I'm increasingly more physically capable of pushing for what I want as well.
Last night in a private lesson, after pushing for and getting the trot I wanted, we worked some on counter-canter. First some regular canter circles, then canter broken lines and finally some canter serpentines without lead changes, in other words, maintaining the counter-canter on each alternate loop. This is hard for Ruby right now, so we didn't do a lot of it, just a bit to start to introduce the exercise for this Summer. We can build on it and increase the duration as she gets stronger. And a strength-building exercise it is. It really does help promote strength in the canter as the way it requires the horse to carry themselves. So, I am increasingly looking for more strength, more balance, proper tempo, straightness. Hopefully this will allow the start of some baby collection at the canter too. All in time.
After our lesson, because the days are so long right now, I took Ruby on a gallop through the Hollis Town Forest trails and out to Silver Lake and back. It was probably a good seven minutes of uninterrupted gallop, plus some canter on the entry trail, walk and trot through the road and neighborhood to get to the trail and trot down the step hill on the way in. We should be doing more of these types of rides, if I want to take her hunting again at the end of the Summer. It was a good time and she was perfect. Haven't done a ride like that in a while.