I felt bad because normally I would have given her a couple of days off. If she had seemed more off I would have anyway but she just seemed a little stiff and with her new work schedule and being asked to use different muscles it didn't surprise me.
It's not that we haven't been accomplishing anything, it's just that it's slow process and there haven't been any awesome rides. It has, however, been so so nice to trust that what my instructor wants me to work on is what I need to work on. I trust L because I can see exactly what she is aiming for and I agree with her methods so even when things temporarily get rough I'm comfortable pushing through it. Now the only thing I think about/worry about is if I'm pushing her hard enough or too hard. She's been getting at least 48 hours between every ride to recover. I'm going to start to ride two days in a row over the next couple of weeks but I am trying to make sure she has enough recovery time to not dislike the work. Of course at the same time if I don't push her at all she will never get stronger.
Then tonight's ride was amazing. She started off rough but it didn't take long and she was working through her back better than she has been and was more relaxed at the base of her neck where L points out she holds most of her tension. After a few circles at the trot in the indoor we moved to the outdoor based on an invitation from another rider. She spent a few minutes being tense and rushy but then I got as good of work as we did inside.
I just have to take a moment to say how incredible my pony is. She has such an amazing brain, is so brave, and so intelligent. She makes me look like an incredible trainer :) Tonight was the first time she set hoof in the outdoor arena and she never once spooked. There were plenty of things to look at and she did tip her ear in their direction a couple of times and then she went right into work mode. I'm also extremely proud to say that tonight, for the first time, she licked the bit out of my hand without me having to ask her to take it. This has been a long careful process to get to this point so to see her finally actually do this was amazing and it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be to have her reach down to take it right out of my hand. It's little things like this that make me feel like I'm on the right track with her :)