So I figured out my problem last Thursday night.
I promptly wrote a post about it on Friday morning, and received awesome comments!!
Friday, I went to the barn with a whole new attitude about how I would approach pony.
I arrived at the barn knowing that she deserves 100% from me, and if she has to work, so do I.
The first huge thing was that she was standing by the gate when I went to get her. She looked at me, looked around, shifted her weight as if she might leave, and chose to stay. I opened the gate and held out my hand and clicked at her. SHE CAME TO ME!!!!
This has never happened before!!
I took her in, groomed her, tacked up and went into the arena. I remember how Cindy wrote about how her rides with trax simply need to be longer. That he is just starting to work by the end of an hour long warm up!
So, I had a LONG warm up. I probably rode for about 2 hours overall. I worked on walking for a long time, lateral movements, circles, etc.
When I asked for a trot, I could feel a difference in her from the very beginning. We took a lot of breaks, and worked on managing our trot speed (which has been impossible in the last few weeks).
Finally, we worked on loping. Both leads were beautiful, easy, controlled and slow.
I was amazed.
I am proud of myself for recognizing that there was a problem, figuring out the problem, and effectively changing my riding.
The crazy thing, is that it was a barely noticeable shift. I could feel it, pony could feel it, but no one else could hardly see it. But it made SUCH a difference.
It was my entire attitude, shifted from 'alright let's have a ride' to 'let me help you do what I want' and she appreciated that. In the past few weeks, I had been riding other horses, horses that are MUCH easier to ride, and she could feel it, and my subtleties with her had shifted. There again, it was such a small shift, I didn't realize I had changed anything.
I am so happy, it's crazy how much they can read your mind and body language and react!