You know it's a good lesson when you're trainer keeps saying "Hot Damn!". :) And is riding the chair she's sitting in!
I had a lesson with Kelly today. I'm going broke but I would really like to keep this year going well and do well at the AEC's and... I'm having a blast, so... yeah. ;)
So anyways, we continued on with the plan of creating more jump and push and sit and more bend in his hocks. (Again, I love how well Cindy and Kelly compliment each other). So we started with the trot and got a nice trot and worked on me sitting on my pockets and "slouching" so that I'm sitting up straight and not hunching forward. I need to own my elbows.
Then we did some leg yields. Only instead of doing pretty "competition" leg yields, we did German training leg yields. The goal is to push him more lateral than forward in an effort to encourage him to really move that hind leg underneath him. So to start we did a regular happy leg yield from the quarter line to the rail. Then we got a little stricter and made him go more lateral and hit the rail closer to B and E rather than the end of the long side. Then at the third attempt we would hit the rail at B or E. And in an effort to accomplish that, I had to remind him of my leg aids by using my whip on my leg (making a noise) or just behind my leg. Then once we got the "over" aids in place and he really started stepping under, we did it from the centerline to E/B. It was tough and it took a bit. The other key player was to slow him down. I really had to sit and slow him down in order to give him the time to be able to sit and push and go sideways. But it worked!! We got it. :)
So then Kelly said that when we did this exercise, we weren't worried about his throughness. This exercise was to focus on lateral suppleness.
Our next exercise was working on longitudinal suppleness. We moved to the canter for this one. We started with the walk to canter transitions again. And again, it could take 3 times to make it fairly decent. But we had to get a quick response. Kelly had me try a new trick too, although she did admit that Dan was much more in front of my leg than he has been, which made her happy. So instead of using my whip on his butt or belly, she had me flip it around in my hand. Then I was to wiggle it in the air so it made a swooshing noise. That was an ecnouragement to Dan to move forward. It worked!!! We're not sure how LONG it will work, but for now, it works. It made me giggle a bit because every time I swooshed the whip, he would surge forward and swoosh his tail back at me. (Like... "why I oughta.....". Hee hee). So anyways, we got our canter transition... then we worked again on the sit and push and collect, then let it slowly down and out for the training level frame. So... get the canter, then make sure I was sitting on my pockets and "slouching" so that I was sitting straight and not perched. Then I would half halt as his hind end came forward and push him into the half halt with my legs (but not nagging). Then... if he started to back off, wiggle the whip in the air and swoosh! to encourage forward. But I needed to make sure I didn't let him fall when I got the surge. The surge needed to be into the bridle, which meant I had to keep the connection. He got LOVELY!!! It was a firm connection but he's getting stronger because it wasn't as strong as it has been. I was able to get him soft and lovely. It was awesome!! He felt amazing :)
Gay and Jeanette had wandered up by this point and said he looked great too! Yay! Of course the left lead canter is still really hard to get from the walk. I really think I'm doing something to throw him off because I feel like he gets frustrated and finally just swaps on his own because he knows I'm wrong. :) But... we did determine (and it's what Cindy has been telling me too... apparently I cannot remember things to save my life) that if I ride him a little shoulder in (to counter him flinging his forelimbs to the outside) and make sure I'm not too far back with my outside leg and keep that outside rein connected better, he is a bit better about getting it.
So then afterwards I pulled his saddle off and put the bareback pad on. We went out to the XC field and I popped him over a handful of fences because I couldn't help myself. Plus I thought it might help me out. :) I don't know... AEC's prep... something. :) Then Gay came out and we headed to the lake for a little splashing. Dan actually went for a very little quick swim with me on board. :) Then we did a short little hack and headed in. Very fun day.
oh, and yep... when I went to go fetch the boys, they were both snoozing. :) Danny is not a morning person. ;) (although it was late morning... they had already been fed).