I rode Lakota again today. We were having some similar issues (of course), with direction mostly, and moving forward (um, so what else is there? lol). So I decided to just do nothing. Just sigh and relax and sit there, totally relaxed, let my legs totally hang loose, "ride on my thighs" like Deanna said. And Adria, you were so right. Lakota just needs less. When I apply leg to ask for forward, I realized just the act of applying leg, no matter how quietly and gently I try to do it, it tenses my leg enough that she reads that as "tense/stop", the head would go up and she'd get confused (swiveling ears).
So I just sat there, and did nothing. Her ears were totally on me, both of them, wondering what I wanted. She tried targeting the muck buckets, and licking them, then tried kicking over the mounting block. She was CT for everytime she moved forward, even if it was only a step or two. Then I looked. I looked where I wanted to go, just by turning my head but staying totally relaxed and like jello. She tried a few times, but the RP is not even, so as she would turn one side of my body would automatically tense to compensate for being unbalanced a bit, and she would read that as stop, or turn. We get lots of tight turns, apparently my seatbones are not even. So we had a lot of herky/jerky stops/starts. Then I consciously tried engaging one seatbone or another when we were stuck facing the rail (I did NOT touch the reins at all, she doesn't seem to like to be "steered". Both Lakota and Joe are way more in tuned to seat cues, which I have never done before, obviously, and never learned!)
That worked pretty darned well, I think I even need to quiet that down a bit. Then I just totally concentrated on one of the cones I had set out. Softly, but I concentrated on it, and kept myself soft by actually talking to her. "See that cone over there, Lakota? Lets go over there. I see the cone, do you see it? That one over there, come on, lets go!" And after a couple of start/stops, she went right to the cone! wahoooo!!! She got a huge CT for that, a big hug, and I hopped off. And a nice treat of some seriously pathetic fall grass.
Of course, we did groundwork first, went through our maze, some lunging (circling, lol) free-lunging, worked on mounting more, Deanna. Thanks for the suggestions. We both started getting frustrated (Lakota more than I), she started whacking me with her head and pawing, grabbing at the bag saying: "I'm trying so hard, just give me the damn oats!" So after a couple of really good tries, I just moved the block and got on. We'll get there eventually, lol!
Oh, and the chicken has received a stay of execution. When I went out to feed last night, she was no longer raspy/wheezing, and was moving around (albeit slowly). So I packed her wound up good with Neosporin and wished her well. At least there are no flies, so she stands a pretty good chance of making it.