I decided to warm America up for her freestyle session by doing some liberty with her. We played with stick to me and then with figure 8's. The stick to me went well but we had a bit of a rough start with the figure 8's. America would draw around the cones, both right and left, but when I sent her through the center, she would leave. I tried sending her very softly but she still would leave so I "helped' her leave. She figured it out very quickly it was much easier to just walk through the center, around the cone, and back to me for a rub then to go running off at the trot or canter. She's so smart!!
Tonight was the fourth riding session for America with my friend Sheree and everything went very well. We started out with walk to the left and America was following a direct rein nicely, with softness, and with minimal corrections. She also did well at the trot to the left; however, at the canter, she still wanted to turn back to the right. It took some persistence to get her cantering to the left without wanting to turn back but when we got it going well, America had a very nice, relaxed canter without all the impulsiveness she'd displayed in the last session. Her stride was cadenced and smooth. After she'd completed one lap without trying to turn back to the right, Sheree brought her to a walk and they played with the ball for a bit. America enjoyed this, biting the ball and pushing on it with her nose. She even tried to put her foot on it then kicked it!!
After a bit of a rest, Sheree asked America to walk, trot, and canter to the right. This went well as expected...this is America's "easy" side. They did two laps of each then stopped.
I showed Sheree how to do the 9-step back-up and America was nice and soft...backed up 6 steps.
We're going on a trail walk with a friend and her horse tomorrow morning so we can get some trail experience with me on the ground. It's also a great way to spend some undemanding time with America and she deserves a well earned break. She's been learning a lot and working hard lately!!
The next riding session is Saturday morning.