I thought Joy was reacting badly to the leg. She kept crow hopping. I tried to keep my leg off, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I thought maybe the whip was accidently hitting her, so I dropped it. She still crop hopped. I worried it was a balance issue, a saddle issue, a saddle pad issue, a back issue… I was worried, but nothing seemed wrong other than this hop step behind.
Next ride, still hopping. She was tense, excited. I tried to refocus her attention. I accidently bumped her with the outside leg and she promptly picked up a canter. One circle around and back to trot. Then we had a relaxed and attentive trot. No more hopping behind. I think she was anticipating the canter. We usually canter, then we quit. Oops.
I figured out the loop around the back field is 1.17 miles start/end at my barn. Ava is now trotting about half of that (quarter trot, quarter walk, etc). We even trotted down the slopy part in a balance frame. I’m feeling more optimistic about her future. She doesn’t feel lame. She’s powering through from behind. She is moving much better in the pasture free, and bearing more weight on that left hind when left to her own devices. A few more weeks, she should be fit enough to trot an entire loop.
I need to do this with Joy also. I’ve been doing too much arena work and not enough just fitness/endurance work. Plus, break up her routine and get her more comfortable in the open field.