Most excellent! Cindy noticed today that we were making progress :) Me AND Dan!
We really have been doing our homework. Even with the weather and not being able to get in the ring, we really have been trying. I've been trying VERY hard not to pull him to the rail with my outside rein and instead ride him into the outside rein and get him off my inside leg. I've been trying very hard to sit down on the inside and bring my inside shoulder back and down. I'm trying to steer him with my seat and body and not my hands and I'm trying to influence his go button and stride with my seat instead of my legs. And I'm getting better! It still is there, but I am making progress. And therefore Dan is too! Because I'm not hindering him, he is able to do what I am thinking I'm asking now.
In our lesson today he was super. It was pouring down rain and the ring was crowded. And Danny was very good. There was no naughtyness today. The only "bad" thing he did was try to slow down and yield into Ari as we passed him. Twice. ;) He would occasionally get behind my leg but it was SOOOO much better than it has been. And he is trying. I was able to keep my leg much quieter today and I wasn't nearly as exhausted as I have been riding him. Because I was able to stay quieter and didn't have to chase him. :) Yay!
If I position myself properly, he will be able to go where he needs to go. And by doing that, he almost puts himself into a correct "frame" (for his age and training level) without me having to do it. Which is great!
We did have some issues today. And while they are probably not new issues, this is the first time I've been able to address them because we've gotten through some of the other more pressing issues. He tends to not want to bend left. He likes to counter bend and fall in. So I focus a lot of sitting down and back with my left leg and seat, keeping my left arm at my waist, and getting the bend. Yet today, it became a little more apparent that he also is really not even turning. I need to bring his head around and then his shoulder. So I need to use my outside leg a little bit. Which is hard, because I'm trying to get him off my inside leg. But I think I need to bring my outside leg forward a little bit more to get his shoulder to come around and encourage him to turn. I also need to pay attention to my chin. If it's turning way to the inside... something isn't happening with Dan and my chin won't fix it. ;) It was also showing up in the canter. Going to the left he likes to cock his head. The problem is originating from him falling in, so I need to really address that with my inside leg and seat. But I also have to ask him to turn his nose. And while I do that, I'm half halting subtly on the outside rein. And riding his shoulders fixes his head. We also worked on the stretchy trot. Cindy reminded me to not just throw away the reins. If he wasn't stretching into contact, he wasn't stretching properly and I wasn't really teaching him. Or was teaching him something I didn't want to teach him. So we worked on keeping the reins with light pressure and elbows where they belong. He can still stretch that way.
At the end of our ride we had our best most forward downward trot to walk transition. Good pony!! Then we headed outside for a quick hack since the rain had stopped. He spooked at the tractor a little bit but then walked past it. I noticed that the liverpool was set up in the jump arena so we went to investigate. Danny was a little spooky about it but after about 4 tries, he walked up and sniffed it. Then he stepped on it and jumped a teeny bit back. And then he walked over it, a little excitedly. But then he walked over it again, non-plussed, and then a third and fourth time. Yay! Liverpools are uneventful so far.
It was a great day. :)