Oh what a pretty pretty day!!! What a good day!
Danny and I picked up Gay and Cherokee and hauled to Silverthorn for lessons. I made Gay ride first so Dan and I could get a quick hack in to warm up. It was SOOOOO Pretty out!! What an amazing day!
Danny was a superstar today! Seriously, he felt amazing!! This morning when he trotted in for breakfast he had this super animated bouncy trot. And I feel like I got that in my ride! Kelly helped by creating forward impulsion by encouraging him from the ground with the lunge whip. That allowed me to focus on myself and my aids rather than having to nag him to get him forward. I was able to focus on the other things. We started at the walk with a nice relaxed leg and even connection in both reins. Then we moved to the trot. It's funny how twisted my brain gets things. But it's nice because I'm starting to figure out some of the self-sabotage. (Well, that's too harsh of a word...but I'm creating problems rather than solving them). So... again, tracking right.. Today!! TODAY we did NOT feel like he was falling in or leaning. Today he felt awesome. He felt a little bit like he was flinging to the outside and a few times I thought we were going to go through the arena chains. But Kelly and I talked and hashed it out. She said that in an effort to really reach under and push off with that inside hind, he has to sit and push. Which means, he will feel a bit like he's fishtailing out. So I have to embrace that a little bit. However, he also was a bit too straight and not bent enough, so when I created more inside bend and got him soft, and added a bit of outside leg a bit behind the girth... it was perfect! It kept him from flinging to the outside quite so much, created more bend, and helped shape his body well. Yay! He was still hanging a bit on the right rein, but when I thought of keeping the weight of the connection in my elbows and shoulders vs my hands, it helped.
When we tracked left, he was really hanging on the right rein still. So.... we talked and my brain is really figuring it out. Yes, he needs to shorten that side of his body, but.. I also need to allow a bit of stretch on that side too. I think that in an effort to keep him from overbending to the inside and to shorten/constrict that right side of his body, I'm just grabbing and holding that right rein. So.. it helps to ride shoulder in and Kelly added in to really focus on creating more connection on the inside rein. So yes... true classical dressage would be inside leg to outside rein. And the inside rein should have a lighter connection, but it is a lightER connection... So if it's a 10 on the outside, it should be an 8 on the inside, not a 2. So she almost had me ride outside leg to inside rein some to help get a true connection on the inside rein. Then I could play with the inside leg. So a bit of a balancing act to get him balanced and straight and then once we get that, we'll go back to classical dressage. So... tracking left... I still need to soften the outside rein at times so that we don't get stuck hanging on each other. And I still need inside bend, but I can use slight counterbend to get him straighter and more even in the connection. Kelly said to think of it as degrees of bend and to use all the degrees to keep him supple and soft. But we got some really nice stuff!!
Then we did one canter session in each direction and got a really nice uphill canter. Same thing as in the trot really. He felt fantastic!!!!
So yep... such a beautiful day and Dan was so good. He cracks me up. He was watching Kelly and had this look of ... awe, reverence, and slightly annoyed but kind of not... on his face. I think he really kind of enjoyed today. I know I did. :)
And it's always nice to hear that he had improved from his last lesson. :) :) :) YAY!