Saturday Willow was one moody mare. She really let me know that this new "up in front" stuff was not to her liking. There was a little bucking, a little cow kicking, and a whole lotta not going forward. I stayed patient, kept my cool, and kept driving her into a steady connection. It took 45 minutes, but after the extended sour period I got five minutes of nice trot and canter, which I gratefully accepted, offering much praise. And we called it quits.
Sunday I was too sick to ride (rotten summer cold), but I thought a lot about Saturday's ride. Was Willow telling me that I was doing something wrong, or that I was doing something right? I finally decided that her behavior was actually an indication that I was on the right track. I think she was hoping she could convince me to let her revert to long and low, wherein I don't bother her, and she doesn't bother me. Who can blame her? But it's up to me to stick to my guns in the face of an extended protest.
So tonight I steeled myself for another battle of wills. Willow was way sucked back in trot at first, so I gave her a smart pop with the whip. She bucked halfway down the long side. I popped her again, and she cow kicked. I popped her a third time and finally got a nice big trot. Praise and pats ensued. And after that, I had a lovely ride in the new, slightly higher frame. Progress! You just gotta be smarter than the horse -- and it ain't always easy.