I love my rides with Kelly. It's nice to pick one thing and sort of pick it apart. Plus she tends to say the right things.
Today we started with my position and she touched on my toes. We talked and basically she said it's not a black and white thing so not to panic. Do what I can to tweak it but that regardless, even now, my position was not impeding Dan's gaits or interfering with him. So if nothing changed, it wasn't the end of the world. We did talk about how my leg seemed to be too far back in general, and really far back when I was trying to use my heel. And that I got tight in my knees instead of gripping with my lower leg and wrapping it around. I have beautiful position standing still. Ha! But once we move... I lose it. So.. she suggested wider stirrups and perhaps not the bendy ones, but static ones. So I'll try my jump irons and see if that helps and maybe consider getting those hideous wide ones. ;)
We worked with my feet out of the stirrups at the walk... every time my hip goes forward I need to lengthen that opposite leg. Or the same leg.. I have to feel it again. I think opposite. And it really helped. She also mentioned keeping my seatbones on him. And for whatever reason... I really SAT and could feel both seat bones in the saddle, rather than perching a bit. And it really helped drive him forward. But I don't think I was driving.. not in a bad way. But in a good way. So that helped. Then she told me to bring my belly button to my spine without collapsing and to close my shoulder blades but keep my elbows back at my side. When I picked up the trot, I need to think about keeping my elbows and back in place, and swinging my hips forward in front of the elbows and back. And sit back some. This is the position she wants me in. She said my ears, shoulders, hips (not the back of my butt, my actual hip bone), and heels are in line.
So then with Dan we had to do some shock and awe again. Both sides (ie.. switch my whip). And she reiterated that if Dan does get behind my leg, stop what I'm doing and go back to shock and awe. Don't try to do shock and awe in whatever I'm doing. Just stop and get forward from the leg and then go back to work.
Then... MXO. The goal is to create a solid connection. Which will feel like I'm pulling because I'm too nice. So... I close my hands and create a solid wall for Dan to go into. So the front end (my hands) are creating the pressure that would cause him to halt or do a downward transition. But then I'm going to close my legs and ride forward with my seat to create an equal aid so that he stays in gait, instead of going faster. MX equals zero. :) So... I closed my reins, closed my legs, and Dan goes nice and round. If his head goes up, it's due to straightness, so instead of wiggling him down, I ride the shoulders and worry about his straightness. When he leans in, close my inside leg and bring my reins to the outside to guide his shoulders. (Both hands, but MAKE SURE I KEEP THE CONNECTION and don't let go and soften the outside rein).
And it was lovely! We got some beautiful trot. :)
So yep.. lots of homework. :)