We have continued to ride out with Dan on Fina and me on Lucie, who seems to be going well and enjoying being ridden, and being my top horse again! I think she was getting very fed up of being lead from Fina.
Dan's few days away has turned into few weeks; a friend came to ride with me a couple of times and Seraphina shamelessly grabbed at everything green in her path as if I starved her, and Cécile was far too nice to stop her or anticipate it. Then Jennie came and rode one day and there was less eating allowed. We had a nice ride although it was quite a warm afternoon, and the horses are getting their winter coats. Lucie struggled towards the end and I did a lot of walking up the hills and difficult terrain.
An interesting moment occurred with Lucie during the ride, when she stopped and put her head down to scratch a fly near her head with her back hoof at exactly the same moment that I leaned forward dropping the rope rein to swat it, and her back foot caught in the loop of the rein Luckily it was the bad leg that was caught and she was hopping on the good leg, I was riding at the time and in the seconds that pass where you are thinking, shall I get off now or wait and see how this goes, I could feel Lucie on the verge of panic; then those reflexes that are so worth teaching and hard-wiring in, to release to pressure, kicked in and she stopped fighting to free herself and stood still while I released the leg from the rope, still from the saddle. All over in seconds but could have been a nasty accident for one or both of us. Might be that this caused some extra strain or injury to her bad hock, anyway I put her back on the devil's claw.
So with Lucie grounded for a bit, I rode Fina in the paddock working on upward and downward transitions, using the corners as the stopping place (target?), and once the pattern and feel was established, she would stop as soon as I dropped my energy and strike into trot from halt or walk when I brought my life up, and I could mix it up and change where we made the transition with a similar result. Doing this also helped steady her trot and improve the tempo and maneuverability, so really pleased with it and she seemed happy too; it's always gratifying when an improvement carries over into exterior riding and is more comfortable and connected for us both.