We talked about how to keep my attention focused on my ride every time and how important forward is. Because the pony is young and green, she's still learning about cruise control. I need to remember that it's okay for me to pick how light I would like to have to ask and then follow that up with more energy. I have a tendency from my school horse days to thumpity thump thump all the live long day until the horse is practically walking and I'm dripping sweat.
So we made sure I was getting her in FRONT of my leg and that I was holding the rein for attention, not yanking or fussing. I practically play sonatas with the reins at the walk because my hands are so active! We also worked a little bit on heading towards the 'scary' end of the arena. I would ride the 20m circle at the one end where we are reasonably attentive and then at X I would put in a 10m circle towards the scary end going the opposite direction and then back on the 20m circle. What was interesting was how there was one particular spot where when I tried to do the 10m circle to the right, we fell apart. She dropped her shoulder, turned her head completely to the outside, swung her hindquarters around and generally lost all forward motion. In response, I went into a textbook picture of the fetal crouch while thump, thump thumping and tap, tap, tapping her ineffectually. But here's the thing that was great. This happened every time (that's not the great part...wait for it....) BUT (this is the great part) four strides later we were back on our 20m circle and doing fine. So though I was not able to stop the trainwreck from happening, I was able to be businesslike and get right back to it. Hurrah!
The other big thing I was reminded of is to stop while I'm ahead. We had a LOVELY 20m circle with proper bend and with us both paying attention and I tried to eke out ONE MORE of those, only to end up with four crappy circles and both of us lagging. We pushed hard and got one last decent circle before we quit but note to self: stop before it falls apart.
The pony and I were both dripping sweat when we were done. Definitely almost time for the clippers.