Oh poor Dan.. it's a wonder you are doing as well as you are. I'm really not sure what I'm doing! ha! That's why we have Beth. :)
So Mr. Dan got to come to wishing tree today for a lesson. He was soooo good. Oh, and he feels so much better after his session with Kathryn! Now I just need to get his teeth done and adjust him. :)
Anyways, we went to Wishing Tree and I rode him first. When I first got on he saw the babies in the field around the ring and was high! He even bucked and bolted on me. He hasn't done that in awhile! Silly fool. So we worked him through it and he settled quite nicely. We started trotting and worked on our big trot to little trot. Beth said I needed to be more obvious in my downward to little trot. I think the reason I didn't show as much initially was because I was using just my seat aids. When I added a small amount of rein aids (mostly just squeezing my fingers around them, not even having to pull back), he was lovely. Then we did spiral in and spiral out. He's getting the hang of it. And I'm getting the hang of riding both sides of his body. He tends to make it oval/egg shaped at times, so I was much better about keeping him in a real circle. Beth also pointed out that he tends to get a little short in the neck. So she wanted me to really focus on keeping my reins longer and riding him almost like a hunter. Going to the right was much better! Of course that may have just been because she reminded me about it then. But I was able to let him stretch his neck out and then his stride opened up a bit and his gait was lovely! Beth wants me to guide him to the longer rein, but then allow him to hit the end of the reins/connection and be there for him. He needs to learn that we want him to take the connection, not go to it and avoid it. It happened too! Very few steps, but he held the connection for a step or two here and there! yay!
So then we worked on the canter. Ha.. I'm such a dufus. I told Beth that I had been "cheating" by saying "And Danny,... canter" and smooching at him. Like I do on the lunge. And I did that, but I still had to chase him into the canter. So then she told me that he needs to be responsive to my leg aids. So... I needed to ask for the canter, and if he didn't respond quickly, a tap with the whip. So we did that and he went into much better, without running. And then I mentioned that I still wasn't sure how to ask him to canter. I felt like I was doing a few different things. That's when the lightbulb moment came on. Doh... I'm such a dummy. She said I needed to sit lightly for a few strides and to put my outside leg slightly back. This was my prep aid for him. Then I was to swing my hip forward and ask. And he should respond quickly. Oh... yeah.... I was thinking to myself "Well, he doesn't know the canter aids, so... he won't know that it means canter". INSTEAD of thinking .... "gosh, he doesn't know the canter aids because he's a baby... I have to TEACH him the canter aids". Duh... Jeesh. And sure enough, after about 3 times, he figured out "oh, she means canter". Wow... it's a good thing he's smarter than me. ;)
I love him!