Since I last wrote about Kiki, I've had (or tried to have - old habits die hard!) a mental do-over about how I think about her training. I've always felt like we were behind the curve and that I had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing to 'catch up with everyone else.' Even typing that looks silly, because just who are these 'everyone else' that I've been so worried about? Freaks of nature like the eventers that go CCI**** when they're 8 years old? Why do I need to care? Kiki may be a little slow in her young horse development, but she's still hardly over the hill, and we've got plenty of time and no real rush at all to get where we want to go.
So, I've been trying very, VERY hard to just sit back and enjoy the ride a bit more. And I think it's paying off! Kiki is so sensitive that she most definitely picks up on my mood, and I think has been appreciating me not spending every ride tense and thinking to myself 'not good enough! Not good enough!' She has been steadily improving over the past 10 days, to the point where I'm not totally mortified to put video evidence of her up on the interwebz for everyone to see.
Here is her left lead canter (caution, beware mega solar glare a around :50):
No, it's not perfect. In fact, it's still really only passable. But did you see that moment where she broke to trot, went a few steps, and then calmly picked up the correct lead again? BREAKTHROUGH. Something that simple was literally what had her throwing herself against the walls of the indoor in her lesson a week and a half ago (actually, picking up the left lead canter at all was a pretty major production; but break and ask for it again? Jokes). To be able to canter around the arena, make circles, do little spiral ins and outs, and have her steady, sane, and not pulling or bolting is like a dream come true. Good piggy!
To the right:
This is her stronger direction, and I think it shows. There were even moments down the long side where her stride began to unlock a little and a real, civilized, more than passable canter came out. (Well, a glimmer, anyways).
...This is why, at the end of the day, Kiki doesn't get kicked out of the barn =) She has a hell of a trot when she loosens her back up! Now if only we could trot like that in a competition frame... Someday!