We've had a few more good days this week, complete with some tack experimentation!
On Thursday, we had a very productive lunge. She lunged on Monday, and had two very intense dressage schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I wanted to ease up and do an easy lunge session on Thursday. You never quite know which horse is going to show up for you every day (Jekyll or Hyde), but O really had her game face on, and was extremely quiet and responsive. The lunge was very short, only about 15-20 minutes - but she was so good that there was no reason to do any more.
You can see that she was very relaxed at the canter, keeping her speed under control. When she keeps her focus and is quiet, the canter actually becomes quite nice. When she is rushy, it becomes flat and lateral, but when she is quiet, it is pure and actually quite pretty.
She looks crabilated, but she was very chill. She's always gotta let me know what she is REALLY thinking though!
Today I experimented, and borrowed a double bridle. I thought maybe it would be worth a try, although I suspected she wouldn't love having two bits in. I was right... she definitely didn't love that. She even ground her teeth once or twice, very lightly.... she only does that when she is really, REALLY mad about something. At some point we halted, and I asked her for a step backwards. She sulled up against the bridle and stood immobile. She refused and refused to move, until I finally had to get off and back her up in hand. Even then, I could NOT get her to move. I even had full pressure on just the curb once or twice, just trying to get her to respond to ANYTHING, and she stood there like a rock, completely tuned out. (I later backed her in hand with just a light hold on her snaffle, and she skipped lightly backwards with no problem... she's a stubborn thing.) I may have to start carrying a crop in order to help with these occasional in-hand schoolings.... sheesh. When she doesn't want to, she's just not going to do it.
But, other than that moment, she was very good. Eventually I just dropped the curb rein, and she was very good. She was still hovering a little behind the bridle at times, which I don't like.... I think it is time to just go back to her snaffamore. That is the only mouthpiece that she really reliably likes enough to firmly take a contact on.
And now, I'm off to watch the Belmont... will California Chrome make history today??