I rode tonight. A giraffe. He wanted to walk with his head up gawking at everything. I kept asking him to lower his head and he spooked at the arena rail.
It was so much fun.
At the trot, Ashke was wonderful. We tried some trot-walk-trot transitions, which he has completely figured out, so wasn't waiting for me to cue the trot. He trotted, dropped for two strides and moved back to the trot. I tried to get him to walk and instead he trotted. I moved him off the rail and tried to get him to walk properly in the center of the arena, which meant a revisit of the giraffe.
He was looky and arguing with me. I was getting really frustrated with him refusing to lower his head at the walk. (According to N, it is harder to move in a frame at the walk. It is much easier to move in a frame with the impulsion behind the trot.) I felt like his behavior was very much in line with the way he was behaving in our last lesson, when Cassandra told me I was being trained by him.
I popped him with the dressage whip, which made everything worse. I could feel the potential of everything sliding into the black hole of bad rider, scared horse.
I stopped. Threw the dressage whip away.
Asked Ashke to stand and then used the give and take on his "inside" rein until he dropped his head. At first he tried to back up, but I tightened my hips and butt and held him still. Finally, he gave at the poll and brought his head down.
I made a huge deal about it. Praising him verbally and patting his neck. Then I asked again. The second time was much quicker. Again the praise. He snorted and chewed. I asked a third time and this time he dropped immediately. I asked him to walk forward maintaining the frame. His head came up. We stopped. Went back to the ask. The second time he walked forward and remained soft and low. We moved up to the trot, back down to the walk and then stopped.
We did that a couple of times and then we were done with the transitions. I wanted to ask for the canter, but my back is killing me. Hopefully, after sleeping a couple more nights in my own bed and wearing my BOT back brace, I'm hoping a canter will happen on Weds.
I did a couple of turns on the forehand, while asking him to maintain a frame, then on the haunches, then sidepass. He is doing so good at those movements. I will need to work on leg yields from the centerline to the rail later this week. (Homework).
All and all, a good ride. I was especially proud of myself for stepping back and deescalating the situation. Ashke tried hard and was great, even after having two weeks off and being pissed at being ridden by someone else.