Fun day!!! And luckily the weathermen were wrong. Again. We didn't get rained on. In fact, it turned out to be quite a pretty day.
Beth had set up a tough grid. But it was super helpful. It was a group of trot poles in each corner of a square. In the middle of the square was a 20 meter circle with two sets of canter poles.
We started by trotting the circle poles. Then we trotted the trot poles in the corners. Then we cantered the poles in the circle. That's where it got hard. :) It was hard to get the proper canter so that the canter poles were smooth and they didn't have to lurch into them or break to the trot. Really hard. But VERY helpful as it pointed out some holes in our canter. So... basically Danny isn't really bent enough in the canter. He's not really reaching under with his inside hind. And when I create enough bend and make him use that inside hind, it's hard work, so he breaks to the trot. I had to work on keeping my elbows at my sides. Especially going to the left, I kept wanting to do an opening rein. And yes... if I crossed his neck, I would shut his left shoulder down and not get the lead. But I didn't need to open the rein... I could just keep it at my side and it worked. And it worked better because it kept connection on the left rein too. Tracking right, he really just needed more bend and push. Again, my elbows needed to stay in at my sides.
So... we made progress, but it was hard. And because it was hard, he got behind my leg, so I needed to push him into the bridle and keep an energetic canter.
So then it got tougher. :) We did a pattern with transitions. We started with one set of trot poles, then almost volted in to the canter circle, picked up the canter and did the two canter poles, then volte-ed (I don't know how to spell that) out, came down to the trot, and did the trot poles out. And actually, I was quite impressed at how rideable Dan was for the downwards. BUT... it wasn't just getting the trot. I couldn't collapse and had to stay upright and keep him balanced and get that trot collected enough that he didn't trip over the trot poles. Because he had to be collected and almost slow in his trot to do the trot poles well.
So.. we had lots of bobbles, but there was some nice stuff too. We got some really nice bouncy sproingy trot over the poles. We had some decent transitions. And we got some pretty nice canters too.
So yep.. Fun day! Helpful and educational.
Cavaletti's are hard