There was a ton of activity at Safe Harbor Stables today because of the work party, but Jewel handled it like a superstar (which to be honest didn’t surprise me at all!). There were volunteers working in the arena so we rode in the round pen. I started with moving her around loose to see how she was with her new shoes (see last post). She looked really solid at walk, trot, and canter going both directions, yay! I threw the rope around her a bit and worked on flexion and hindquarter yields from the ground, then hopped on.
We focused mostly on exercises today because the round pen was pushed in on one side on in order to make more space for the workers, so it was pretty small for any canter work. We worked a lot on backing circles, something I hadn’t previously tried with Jewel under saddle. She struggled with figuring out where her feet were supposed to go because she is still pretty heavy on the forehand (though much better than a month ago!) but we eventually found some success. It was obvious how hard she was trying, especially since my timing was not always correct. After working on this for a while under saddle, I hopped off and worked on it a little on the ground. I asked her to back a circle, and then go straight into moving the shoulders for a pivot on the hind. This seemed to help her a lot, and hopefully next time it will start off a little better. And while we were riding, there were power washers, mini front loaders, and tons of people working hard to make Safe Harbor Stables clean and tidy—quite a lot of commotion and potential distractions! She was completely unfazed by all of it, even when the front loader was moving right past the round pen. She was curious and looked at it, but was never scared or flighty and listed to me as if we were the only ones there. Yay Jewel!
Here are some short videos of Jewel learning to follow me at liberty: