Lots of liberty lately as I give Maia more responsibility. I have been trying hard to be very positive and not so critical of her, which is making her like me quite a lot more, I think. Although she doesn’t come to the gate when I call (too busy stuffing her face at the round bale…), she does come up to me and happily walks with me to the gate. I bring her all the way to the indoor without any tack—and that includes going through three gates, past the stallion, through deep snow, and past grain on the ground. She does amazing!
Her liberty playing is getting even better—she’s starting to leap around and have fun with it. She is also developing the canter, which is incredible, as that is such a hard gait for her because of her “groundedness.” Today as we were playing I just had to encourage a little and she leaped into a canter, cantered to the end of the arena (staying connected), and I called her back and she came back just like a boomerang. It was great!
Lots more rearing on the ground today. Most are very low, and a few times we even got a couple low ones in succession and moving a little forward, like terre a terre. Several were higher and one was almost a full rear! She keeps her front legs very tucked under her and is quite balanced, although slightly hollow.
|Her rears generally weren't much higher than this. She tucked her feet a little more than Caspian is showing here.|
She is continuing to learn to play under saddle and by the end had some great periods of canter (after many interim almost-canters that were full of leaps and jumps). She had one nice low rear and one tiny jump in the air that made me think of airs above the ground. I ended by doing a bridleless version of John Lyon’s head down exercise, where I continually ask her for a lower head as she walks around, as she was getting quite wound up. She calmed down a lot.
I am riding her with two whips (one on either side of her shoulders) as well as the cordeo. The whips are more for bend and not really for steering unless I really need to, which is when I just use them on her shoulder, not her neck.