We learn to warm-up!

I realized while riding one day last week that I haven't been lunging Dassah at all and I wondered if a lunge before riding might help us with warm-up. It seems that once Dassah warms up under-saddle she's great - but I feel like the time under-saddle warming up isn't productive. I feel limited in my ability to understand how she warms up - when I think we're ready to move on she still exhibits signs of not being quite ready (bracing, sucking back) - so then I spend our entire time "warming up." - we're not really because we've moved on but I'm not reading her right and she's not mentally there so it ends up being a win just to have a little bit of forward and relaxation/rhythm. But I know we could being doing more, not just ending our rides after every "warm up." Make sense? Yeah, I'm still hazy on the details too. It's like there's this cloud of putting ourselves together and just beyond is the clear sky of connection but we spend our entire ride going in circles (literally) inside this cloud and only every now and then drift out into clear sky, only to circle back in to the cloud. boo.

So, during a moment of revelation, I decided to lunge her before riding the next time I was out. Not a wear-down lunge, just a "hey, I'm not up there screwing you over while you work out your warm-up kinks" lunge.

So, armed with lunge line and lunge whip (never do I use it to move Dassah forward, only to move her out as she likes to drift in and then switch directions), we had our first lunge in months. Sure enough Dassah's kinks were revealed - nose in the air, heavy on the forehand, and some resemblance of teenage gangly-ness. But, as I had her go through several walk-trot-walk, walk-trot-canter-trot transitions, she slowly smoothed out. I lunged her for about...10 minutes and ended when I could tell she was warmed up mentally. It was beautiful to behold. I would imagine it's like watching your child settle and put their mind to a task - I was relieved, proud, and excited all at the same time. I get to ride that!!!! 

Sure enough our ride was very productive - we had some spooking at a gaggle of standards outside one of the arena doors - but her trot was forward and we found moments of softness - our canter departures were beautiful!!

In short - I won't lunge her every time I ride but on occasion to help her warm-up without interference. She's probably so grateful to be able to warm up without the bumbling interruptions - I can just hear her now...."Oh sweet lord of mercy, thannnnk you!" I can't quite tell yet if her voice is more....Ouiser of "Steel Magnolias" or Mary from "Downton Abbey." Both sarcastic but one more polite than the other. I should know this by now. (uh oh, deep thought - usually it's me talking at her - maybe if I listened more and let her tell me her voice, we would be make progress much more quickly...I think my husband would agree to that in our relationship!)


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