Beginning of this week, Diva was at her worst. She went in to heat with our lovely, launch in to Spring like weather. She decided that tracking left was a horrible idea and must be avoided at all costs. She was her normal self to the right - turn her left and she would have a melt down...complete with trying to turn back to the right, little rears, bucks, bolting...basically everything she could come up with to avoid tracking left.
Monday, daughter came out to ride her and give me a lesson. Riva tried her tricks with Lex also - but daughter insisted and after a few come to Jesus moments, Riva complied. By the time I got on for a mini-lesson. Riva was super and willing. So, we concluded this is 100% attitude/heat related, nothing physically bothering her.
Tuesday, I lunged Riva to the left only before getting on and she was perfect - no issues whatsoever. Took her out to the jump arena to ride and immediately tracked left. Asked for trot and got a 'Oh Hell No' response. The more things I tried, the worse it became, including bolting toward jumps. As I was out riding alone, I didn't feel comfortable working thru this in the wide open, but full of obstacles, jump arena and two other riders were in the outdoor dressage arena. I jumped off and headed to the indoor. I remounted in the indoor, took up my normal contact before asking Riva to move off, turned her to track left, sat my butt deep in the saddle and put major leg on. She put up a mild protest for about half the length of the long side - I just kept sitting the trot with my hands low and leg back and on. By the time we had made a complete loop of the arena she was very forward, listening, in the bridle. Ok - this is more like it!
I continued at the rising trot, only tracking left until she was light and responsive, then moved in and out of canter. Canter circles, diagonals, all good. Took her briefly to the right, then walked her out on a loose rein with lots and lots of praise.
Good horses get good treats! Riva impersonating a giraffe. Retired TB's get treats too :)
Wednesday - I went with a plan. Ride in the outdoor dressage arena and insist on tracking left obediently right away. Plan almost went off track due to a hail storm on my drive home from work! Got out to the barn and it had not even rained there. I skipped lunging and headed straight outside with Riva. Mounted up, walked her in to the dressage arena, tracked left, took up contact, sat down, leg on, and asked for trot. She mildly resisted for a couple of strides and then gave me lovely forward trot. I probably sounded like a lunatic trotting around saying 'Good Girl' loudly, but Riva eats that up! I kept her at trot to the left for awhile - circles, diagonals, loops - before moving on to canter. Once again, briefly took her to the right and then tried to run thru Training Level Test 3 which I botched up and it was more like a combination of TL 2 & 3 with no walking, but oh well.
I felt so good on the drive home and talked my husband's ear off (by phone as he is working in KY this week). I believe this is the first time I have been able to resolve a major riding issue on my own without someone coaching me thru it. Riva is a tricky one and if I show complete confidence, she accepts that I am the leader.
Today - I Love Her!