I rode yesterday, even though it was pretty dang hot. The more I avoid working her in hot weather, the more unfit she gets. So we bit the bullet and rode anyway.
Ava was STIFF. Usually with Ava, this is a result of not being straight. She was popping her right shoulder out on me. So I put her in a small counter flexion, and did a couple decreasing circles to the left while leg yielding. It seemed to help, and I had more connection with the outside rein.
On a side note: Ava is convinced that if she throws her body out of the ring that I'll HAVE to stop working her and go for a trail ride. She stated this very bluntly when I asked for the left canter lead near the opening. She's enjoying her new roll as a trail pony a tad too much I think. ;)
I felt like (even though she's out of shape) that Ava was more engaged during the ride. At least during portions of it. This was something I was working on at my previous barn, but had issues motivating her to work harder.
I'm going riding again tonight. Hopefully the bombers are kinder than they were last night. Ugh! Although, Ava stood quietly as I fiercely attempt to protect her. I thought, "trying to slap horse flies on various parts of a horses body, while astride, is a good way of increasing balance and flexibility". Then I thought... "I've never smacked Ava on the butt really hard before... Maybe I should hold on to the reins!!"