Q is more than not so ouchy actually, she's back to where she was when I bought her end of last May and brought her home and pulled her shoes. She's happy to walk - chooses to walk - on the gravel instead of the grass. She'll trot on it, but you can tell it doesn't feel awesome.
We worked for a good 30+ minutes in the outdoor round pen last night. Its pea gravel. She moved out wonderfully in pre-ride lunging. I hopped on after a few minutes of lunging to work on my own posture and on keeping contact.
We worked on everything at the walk for a little while. Then we trotted a little. Then I decided, oh, what the hell, tossed my stirrups to the ground. Self-inflicted torture.
Trot. Trot. Trot.
Sitting trot for a long time. I forced myself to really engage my core and sit deep with her movement. I could tell when I did a good job because she'd move out more freely and get choppy and agitated when I did poorly. We did a small cloverleaf pattern at the walk and trot.
I'm very dressage ignorant currently, but I can honestly say that I'm 99% certain Q was finally "on the bit" or whatever the term is. It was really nice. I can't wait to get some lessons this summer...
I did a while of posting trot (sans stirrups), too. I tried prior to sitting the trot for awhile - but I was all out of sorts. I remember the backcountry cowboy this summer noting that you're forced to ride correctly when your muscles are fatigued some (or warmer in my case, probably). Riding fences and trails all day will make you sore for a bit until you give in and ride with the horse. So I did sitting trot for awhile. Once I was warmed up (and in a mild amount of pain, haha) posting the trot was very easy. My core muscles aren't as established as they once were, but they're definitely still there. Its a huge help.
At the end of the session when I gave Q the loose rein she's accustomed to she stretched long and low - just like in photos I've seen. Hurrah?
After our ride I check out each of her feet again. Her sole is so much better from what it was last June. Still not perfect, but so much better. I think there is lingering thrust still in her front hooves, so I plan to soak more tomorrow while she's still sedated from getting her teeth floated. My hope is that she'll be much more apt to stand still for awhile. I've got a copper spray and tea tree oil + cotton balls to apply intermittently throughout the next few weeks, too.
I'm so relieved she's bouncing back from shedding her frogs so quickly!