I intended to just do some of our usual flatwork.
I started with that. The level of her pain is still somewhat uncertain. She is clearly full of drama about it, because I refuse to believe that it's bad enough to warrant her mini tantrums and rudeness, and then you reprimand her and she's acting fine.
She is really irritating me lately about refusing to walk when I lead her to the arena. Like, stops and refuses to move until I resort to giving her a sharp pop on the shoulder. Super rude.
I got on and to my surprise, she did her witchy act - pin the ears, arch the back and hop around and refuse to go forward. I verbally corrected her and she walked off fine, ears relaxed and listening, big, sound walk. THAT is why I am continuing to work her. Because if something was really wrong, she couldn't just walk off like normal.
Her trot was a little rushy in some places, so we did some transitions and it improved. At one point she kept trying to canter so I just let her, and it seemed to loosen her up and her trot improved from there. Canter was BIG strided, slow and nice both ways today.
I intended to cool her out around the back pasture. We got about halfway down the long straight side, and she just stops dead and stares across the pasture. I try to move her and she spins and tries to bolt. I whirled her around and same reaction. Then I hear this deep, low, LOUD growling from across the pasture. I panicked. First thought was bear, second was bobcat, neither of which I want to meet up close on horseback. I broke all my rules about never running towards a barn and asked her to canter. Well, I was freaking and that freaked her out so she started bucking. So we quickly trotted back. I told Lizzie about the growling, and she and her finance went to check it out.
In the meantime, I decided to work Amber a few more minutes, since I didn't want to end on a pacer-style trot and a bucking canter. She did even better...towards the end I let her canter and I just dropped my reins to the buckle, held them one handed, and she just kept the consistency. It was a nice note to end on.
So things are improving with her. The following:
-Her trot quality, soon as she learns that she is allowed to canter a lot faster if she trots well, that will be great.
-Her canters and trot-canter transitions are BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely perfect.
-Her trot-walk transitions are also instant and smooth now.
I still can't figure out what the ear-pinning at canter transitions is about, because she is so much happier canter and is constantly trying to do so. She was really trying to stretch into my hands today, which she hasn't done in a long time, so I'm just going to continue to ride with no contact and just let her do her own thing with that for now.
I've decided not to trail ride any more until next spring. Victoria reminded me of hunting season today. I do think I will make her ride just down the long side tomorrow so that we can give her a positive experience after the scary one today. Now I'm a little paranoid of bears/bobcats and whatnot in the woods...