So, after the successful stop at the Vets office on Friday, we loaded up a sleepy Pip and headed to a local facility for a weekend clinic.
The clinic was held by Amanda Wilson, a great Eventer, and I was to have a Dressage lesson with her on Saturday. Pippi was amazed to be back at this facility, I think, as we boarded there quite a while back. It is a beautiful place, with all the amenities, but our experience there was dreadful. They have changed management several times since, oh I know, turn over at a boarding facility? What? Drama? What?
I digress. After Pippi was able to relax for a few hours, four actually, I tacked her up and longed her in the indoor arena. No sign of her being wobbly after drugs, so I decided to ride her. First we took a walk around the arena to look for horse eating monsters, that as you know come in any color and size imaginable. We found one in the far corner. It was the tall , grey version, with three spindly long legs, that sometimes stands in the arenas spitting liquid and turning its tiny little head around and around. Oh man, we thought it had us, but I felt brave and approached slowly snorting and bobbing my head. Pippi could not believe how brave I was, and not being one to be shown up followed behind snorting and sneaking up with me. The monster was clearly dead, or asleep (or actually a water sprinkler) so we moved on after we both gave it a good ones over with our muzzles. (I have found that with Pippi it is much quicker for me to play scared horse and for us to investigate together, than to "encourage" her to go forth with a "its nothing, see?" approach/retreat plan. When we used to do that it could take a while, and Pippi would start fighting me and just get more upset. I would handle the object and she would get pissed off. Then it occurred to me that she does not have hands, and I swear it ticked her off that I would disregard her feelings. Now that I mirror them, we can get over it as a team.) Our ride was uneventful, although she was a bit "looky." I do have to mention that Donna was amazed when I cantered and stated "Look at you, I can't believe you are just Canter like that."
Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, with a nice little breeze. I watched the only other Dressage clinic of the day, the others chose to jump, and felt better about how mine would go. Seems Pippi and I have some skills after all. I longed a VERY "looky" Pippi in the indoor, and decided to do the same outside. I walked up and down the arena (it was lunch time) so Pippi would be working, but had a chance to see her surroundings. She was definetly on alert, and when I mounted up she high trotted me across the arena. I pulled back, but having the simple snaffle she disregarded easily. So I yanked! She stopped, and I whispered to her that she needed to follow through on her end of the deal. (I take care of her and she takes care of me.) And she did. Our lessons started and she was AWESOME!!!
Lots of 20m circles, and W/T changes, working on bend and staying off the forehand. When she carried herself, I asked her to slow as a reward, when she leaned I sped up. After just a few circles I had longer and longer times with little/no weight in the reins. Yippee!! I was reminded to get the gait, and then in the next stride get the bend. Then we cantered and did the same thing. The hour flew by, and I loved every minute!! Figure 8's with 20m circles, and bend changes. Pippi had what Amanda Wilson called some "snarky" moments, but nothing to worry about. She just tends to take over when I falter. Somebody has to drive the train, and she thinks it might as well be her since I clearly quit.
Amanda asked if I had any questions about half way through, and I asked what I knew Donna was thinking "how long until you say Pippi is too small for me?" She said instead that my leg is a little too long for Pippi, but that Pippi was clearly the right horse for me. "She puts up with your new rider faults, and takes care of her rider. She is a been there/done that horse, who is very honest and a great teacher. Worth her weight in gold."
Miranda chuckled when Amanda said "takes care of her rider." And stated "she only takes care of Mom." And I have to agree. Pippi is not half as patient with Miranda as she is with me, and has not hesitated to show Miranda her displeasure at times. But to her credit, Pippi is following through on her end of the deal, with slight reminders, and I sure take care of her.