I slept in.... enjoyed the morning with Mike... then Dan and I went to Silverthorn for a lesson with Kelly. Man I adore her!! She... just... gets me. :) And Dan. :) I told her about Danny not holding the right lead canter... even on a straight line, but that I thought it might be because I was blocking him when I tried to sit right. So... we warmed up and then she had us canter. And.. it wasn't half bad. So... whatever... she said she didn't see me doing anything wrong or blocking, just that he wasn't quite bending his barrel around my right leg. Well yeah... that's his thing. So... we addressed it. And it was so much easier to address today than it can often be.
We went back to the walk and put him on a circle. She reminded me of when the correct timing was to ask with my inside leg. When my outside hip was coming forward. So then... after asking politely with my inside leg on the proper timing.... If I didn't get much of a response, I asked and then tapped with the whip. But I had to tap near my leg.. .not his butt or shoulder. Near the girth. WITH the correct timing... right after my leg. So we did that and it helped a lot. Then we moved to the trot. Same thing, only different timing when we sit. It was when I naturally felt it. I can't remember the proper timing... maybe it was when I felt the upbeat every other time or something, but I almost naturally got it, so we didn't make a big deal of it. We did the same thing with the whip again. And then we moved to canter. As my seat came forward... so that helped! And it worked. I didn't have to work that hard or whip that much. ;)
So we got some really nice work. He's trying to go too deep lately.... so I had to work on lifting my sternum and lifting my seat and sitting upright (not perching) and sitting deep into the saddle.. and that got him to bring his poll up but still stay round and supple. We got some really nice work! So then we talked about him swapping. Which of course, he didn't do nearly as bad as the last two days. But he did hop a little bit... She said it was an evasion, but it definitely got better with the right leg aids. So then we tried counter canter. I cantered on a circle and then went diagonally to the rail and held the counter canter down the long side and then across the short side. I focused very much on keeping him supple and he held it... It was lovely.. and then I felt he was about to lose it and was going to ask him to come out of it, but he beat me to it. Then we tried a few more times and he kept falling out of it. Sigh... BUT.. it's there... I've just got to be very diligent about keeping my aids in the right lead canter. I almost have to think of cantering haunches in. I really have to keep my outside leg back, my right seat cantering.... And then we put him on a circle and did right lead canter, but bent him softly left. SOOO Hard... But we did it.
So that's my homework. And Kelly and I talked about how that was okay... we knew that it was tough for him and he was trying. So we'll just keep working. So yep.. great lesson!
Then I hauled him over to Ashland to play with Liz. We both wanted to jump stadium before next weekend's show at Jumping Branch. Peri came to hang out and help set fences, which was a nice bonus. :) We let Liz go first as most of them were already set for her. She and G were super!! They've come such a long way in such a short time. I'm so dang proud of her!! So then we raised them up training level for me. They looked a little bit at first, but then not really. I'm hoping they actually had them set to training for me. So I warmed him up.. jumped 4 smaller fences before they had moved them all.. and then we jumped the bigger fence twice... and then I did a course. It wasn't beautiful. It had some issues. BUT.. it actually seemed to get better over the course, which quite often, is not the case. And.. he did it. We did the whole thing with no real issues! YAY!!! Then we fixed one of the lines because I totally cut off the corner and motorcycled to it and once I did that it got even better. Especially when Liz told me to make him bouncier. And it totally worked. I just thought about sitting more upright and lifting and he did. :) So we did that line a few times and he started drifting hard right again and I ended up finishing with a pretty beautiful line. I didn't even have to over-correct. I just blocked the right side and he stayed straight. :)
So then we went for a short hack so I wasn't too late getting home and now he gets to rest. :)