So I went out today after I got home from our trip, and tried on Mikey's new Don't Shoot Me fly bonnet. Here are the results.
|"Noooo Mom! The other kids will make fun of me!!!"|
I got him all dressed in his dressage finery with the wrong shaped orange pad. That's one of my pet peeves, using an all purpose pad with a dressage saddle. I swear, I don't do it often. In fact, I've only done it when I don't have a dressage pad. Except now. This orange stuff is new and fun, and it's fun for now wearing bright orange.
So we tried to have a nice pic, and then what Mikey really thinks.
|He refused to be photogenic.|
Anyway, we started with what we worked on with my trainer at the start of our last lesson- fixing the shoulder in. I paid attention to not overdoing it while keeping the bend, and softening myself so Mikey could soften. We're starting to get very precise changes to shoulder in and back to straight before the corner- as long as I don't ride him into the corner and as long as I ride softly and from my seat.
After both directions were good, we moved on to what we worked on with the German Riding Master- using lateral movements to help collection, and pirouettes in trot and canter to get the engagement and activity. Mikey was nice and sharp today. He developed his nice strong super through and light in the hand trot very quickly. I'm trying to teach him a differentiation between what it means when I apply both legs at the girth (extend his step) and both behind the girth (collect the step). I'm also applying the extra pressure in the walk and trot at the girth as each front leg goes forward to get a little extra zazz from that leg as it goes forward- and it's working! He's catching on very quickly and is even starting to develop a Spanish Walk and an extended trot with more "grandeur" as one of my judges requested. Back to my point, he understands the leg placements very well and is beginning to shorten and lengthen just by my leg placement. It lets me use my seat in a much more supportive manner and let's me help him instead of fight him. We did a couple half circle canter pirouettes, nothing very exact, and I finally got that sitting hind end, raised front end feeling. Yes, I've done them before, but it finally clicked that that is the feeling I need to develop somehow and then carry on with. I used the canter pirouette to develop the feeling, just as simple as half halts, raising my shoulders, a little more outside aids to help the sideways, leaving the door open for circling, and he'd promptly sit and raise his front end. I'd release him from the sideways and send him straight and paid extra attention to maintaining the feeling. He can't maintain it that long, but we have a good start and he has lots of try. We'll build the muscles up this winter.
That work went so well I quit while I was ahead and we moved on the the flying changes I worked on with my trainer in my last lesson. She had worked with me to ride them much more forward and much more through and straight. It took a while for us to get out of the very collected work and into the forward through strides I needed. Once I stopped micromanaging him, aside from holding him straight from my seat and thigh, he offered up changes quickly and cleanly. I'm still using the pole on the ground, and asking for the change a stride before it and instead of using the pole the change, he's changing right when I ask! We'll start taking the pole away as soon as I work myself out and can be consistent for Mikey.
We worked on a lot, but we were only at it for a half hour to forty min. He was great, so I took some after riding pictures:
|I accidentally took this one while fiddling with my gloves. I thought it was neat.|
|Bright orange ears.|
Anyway, all this good news must be the work of the magic orange net!
Anyway, it's very late on a Sunday night and I have to get to bed so I can get up for work in the morning!