The first words I heard from my coach as I was warming up were, "Look at that pony's canter!"
Obviously, she was pleased with the gait that we were producing. I was pleased, too! We have been practicing, you see. Because the Fancy Pony wants to go faster rather than wait and balance... It's not that she is being beligerant, it's just that she doesn't know any better!
We actually had some adjustability in our canter in warm-up!
I was feeling pretty darned accomplished, and I only jumped ahead of my horse once (I got excited, what can I say?). Coach sent me around the course again (Which now included outside lines, diagonal lines, and bending lines! Woo Hoo!) and said to me, "Remember, you are the decision maker. If you make a decision, even if it is the wrong one, follow through and support it! Don't drop her at the base of the fence."
You see, I feel like my horse knows better than I do if the long spot or the short spot will be better if we aren't going to arrive at the perfect spot. So, I have (incorrectly) been giving a stride out and letting her tell me which will be more comfortable. She doesn't always make the right choice, either, but she always gets us over the fence, and hardly ever knocks a rail. I think she has had 3 knocked rails in the last year. Maybe 4. She is stupendously careful! Because I have not been commiting to what I see, and leaving it open for discussion, she was feeling a little bit abandoned at the base of the fences. That one instruction made a huge difference in my next round! We rode the entire round like a hunter! Coming to the dinky wall, she wanted the long spot. She was commiting to it! I sat up and sucked it in (never touched the reins) and she waited!
The most entertaining part of the ride, however, was the last course we did, where we rode a single fence, diagonal bending line, outside line, diagonal bending line, outside line. The final outside line was new, and she was convince that we were done after the final bending line. I bent her toward the final (new) line, and she was sleeping. She just wanted to cruise (in balance, at least!) around the end and hang on the rail. This last line comes up fast, especially if you don't come off of the rail at precisely the right moment. And the first jump in the line is a very solid gate! It was ugly, but I hauled her off of the rail, putting us on a bit of a diagonal approach to the gate. I told her, "I don't care how ugly it is. Get over and put yourself together!" She zeroed in on the fence, hopped over it on the diagonal line that put us in the middle, landed straight and in line for the second fence, balanced, adjusted for a proper take-off, and jumped quietly and round over the final fence! She was so with me, at that point, that I rode her around to the end of the ring, did a balanced transition to trot on a half circle, which put me on the centerline. We trotted about 1/4 of the way down the centerline, and trotted right into a straight halt. It was so lovely, I saluted like it was a dressage test!
The show this weekend has now been cancelled to to imminent freezing rain and overall crummy weather, so we won't get to show off our newfound hunter skills yet. On the upside, I recieved my Not-So-Secret Santa Blogger gift, and I will be making a whole seperate post about it because it is over the top, and I need your full attention for the gushing.
On the other up-side, I finally got mine together and packaged and SHIPPED (today, geez, I feel so behind!!), so it should reach its destination next week. Hopefully before Christmas, but if not, definitely shortly after. I sure hope she likes it!!
Special Note: I have it on good authority that we will start playing over small corner questions and skinnies and all manner of other fun things like that. I can't wait to tell you guys what the Fancy Pony thinks about such mind-boggling questions!