I am at that point with Lucy where she's doing very well and wanting to stretch a lot, but I have to force myself to trust her. We all know the nonsense she's capable of, and she has been known to take advantage of a loose rein in the past. I don't want to punish her in the present for past silliness but I won't lie to you: every time I ride her on a loose rein, I say a silent prayer. I am not a religious woman but I feel there's no time like the present to pray for good luck.
During this afternoon's ride she was going nicely in both directions and at the canter, wanted to stretch. I allowed her to do so to the left without incident and she was lovely. To the right we went through the same routine: trot, ears pinned, nasty faces, scratches on the neck and slight "tsk tsk"ing, big sigh, signs of relaxation, and finally asking for more rein to stretch. I gladly let her have it all (basically I was riding her on the buckle) and reached down to stroke her along her neck and praise her. This is when she decided that NOW was the time to leap across the diagonal of the ring and throw in a few bucks along the way.
I thought I was going to eat dirt for about a second but if I have learned anything from this horse, it's how to sit up and gain control even when you think all hell has broken loose. So that's just what I did and somehow she landed from her last leap on the left lead, so that's how we continued around the ring. The rest of the ride was fabulous and against every self-preserving fibre of my being, I allowed her one more stretchy canter to the right before calling it a day.
I even had an audience; a girl who is looking to move her horse to the barn was there watching the whole thing.