Since the last time I posted, I have been able to ride Sage three times. It's so amazing not to have to study anything, and not to have to worry about getting done with chores to get back to my notes. And since I had the time, and since she was so good getting saddled again, I figured why not?
The first day I did a lot of groundwork, and she was so good for all of it that I decided there was no reason not to ride. I asked my dad to help me out, because she hasn't been ridden since January, and I didn't want to be caught off guard. What's nice is we can use the roundpen and put Chinook on the outside, so he can still see her but isn't underfoot (which he tends to be). So I had my dad hold while I got on slowly, but Sage remembered what this was all about and didn't seem bothered at all. I asked him to lead us in a small circle and called it good for the day.
The next time, I got on by myself after a little bit of ground work. Once again, she was very good. I let her just sit there for a while thinking about what was going on, and then I asked her to move forward with a squeeze. She has only sort of learned this command, but she stepped out willingly the first time. I think I just got lucky, because after that I found her motivation to move dropping substantially. At one point, I was squeezing and clucking and just trying to get her to take one step forward so I could rest my leg muscles!
So today, I enlisted Patrick's help. We've done this before, with him leading to teach her that when I squeeze it means to go forward. I got on rather quickly, and there was quite a bit going on outside at the neighbor's, but she was still good. She's definitely getting used to the idea! First he walked us around a few times, just for her to get the feeling of me being up there while she's moving. Then we did a few start and stop transitions, and then we tried it by ourselves. She really wanted to follow him, but after a little bit, she understood that I was trying to guide her. I got a few more forward steps than I usually do. Hopefully this means that next time, when I will be by myself, she'll continue to learn about moving forward. For now, this is quite good enough!