Nothing better on a warm late summer day that four lovely rides on four excellent horses. We're going to have some hot weather for the next few days, with little riding likely, so I wanted to get in some rides today. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
All the things I've struggled with my horses require me to dissolve the braces in me, and then things get good - it's never about the horse doing anything wrong, but about what I bring to and offer to the horse - if it's right on my end the horses deliver.
Dawn was lively - very forward and responsive and wanting to move out. She has taught me a lot about having a soft, following contact and doing as little as possible - in fact nothing - to get what I want. With her, thought is enough - if the barest idea of canter crosses my mind, she's cantering - I have to be careful what I think and keep a clear mind when I'm with her.
Missy and I worked some more on her left bend at the trot, and on her maintaining forward with good softness and engagement - very nice. She's very consistent in her softness now and is just lovely.
Red and I have had two outstanding rides in a row. He's been energetic and responsive, and my offering softness to him - for him to take up - at every step, even when he wants to brace - has made a huge difference. Instead of bracing against (my) brace, he just melts into the softness, and we go about our business.
Pie has been a peach (peachy Pie, anyone?). Lovely, soft, engaged trot work and some excellent relaxed, forward cantering. Right bend is no longer an issue - he's reliably soft on both reins now that I'm not getting in his way.
My horses teach me every day. Some of the thing they teach - consistency on my part pays huge dividends. Their manners on the ground are impeccable, they stand like statues for mounting, and they know exactly what to expect from me. Things just happen like I'd want them to, if I give the horses the consistency they deserve and have come to expect.
Dawn and Pie teach me quietness - on my part - no excess movements, melting into the horse, and using breathing and thought to get what I want. Softness results.
Red continues to teach me that if I can continue to offer softness when he braces, the brace dissolves - it isn't about him being soft, it's about me offering softness to him and him joining me there, consistently.
Missy teaches me that forward comes from the inside of me, connected to the inside of her - it isn't a matter of aids on the outside of the horse. Our communication and connection continues to grow.
A very fine day, indeed.