Today was an interesting lesson. We worked on our halts and reinbacks. Dan is getting too busy in them and/or anticipating and/or fighting me. And I'm sure I'm contributing to it with tight buttocks. So... when I ask him to halt, he needs to stand square and not brace against either leg. I have to keep my elbows bent (Don't throw the reins at him by straightening my elbows) and my butt soft and my pelvis ...something but now I can't remember what. I do something different with my pelvis to ask for the rein back and I must make sure I do NOT do that in the halt. If he bugles, turn a circle bending the bulged ribcage around my inside leg. And then back to where we halted, not drifting down the arena. Then ask again. If he goes forward, circle or back and ask him to stand. If he goes backwards, ask him to circle or go foward but softly and correctly. And... at the end, he got it. :) He was soft, square (ish) and polite and supple. Yay.
Then for the trot OUT of the halt... He moves his butt, but his front end gets stuck. He doesn't stay light in the shoulders, so... keep my shoulders light and when he doesn't bounce off my leg into a trot, I need to use my toes to kick him forward at the shoulder. It's his shoulders that are stuck, thus kick his shoulders forward! And think lift!
We also played around with some stuff, but basically what it boiled down to is that (Especially tracking left) my left shoulder is always hunched forward. Which makes Dan's left shoulder hunched forward and makes him super heavy on the left front. So I need to weight his right hind. And I can accomplish this by riding haunches to the rail. NOT by pulling his nose to the left. And if I drop and roll back my left shoulder (like when Cindy makes me drop the reins out of my left hand and grab the cantle.....) it fixes Dan's aligment and he can move better. Aha!!
So then we did an exercise of the horse to help me get my alignment. You stand with your heels against the wall and your toes up on something (like if you were in stirrups) and press you scapulas and back flat against the wall. Don't tilt your head forward like a turtle. Then pick up the reins (Imaginary) and try not to move. ;) When I did it, my knees bent more, which Cindy said meant that in the saddle, my heels would come up. Duh.. they do! I start sliding my whole leg up. So.. it was good to do it on the wall and then try to recreate it in the saddle. Oh, and.. breathe ;) Ha!