Some really great stuff in today’s lesson, so a few quick bullet point notes from it.
- I put Tristan’s Back on Track hock boots on him 30 minutes before and for about 8 minutes of the walk warmup, and am pleased with that decision. There was less stiff-legged flailing, I think.
- I struggled a little bit with consistency in his forward response early on. Later, I got it down, but I need to establish it more firmly and earlier.
- For maybe honestly the first time ever (?!) there were long stretches of work in the trot that went better when I was sitting the trot. I sat it as a bit of an experiment and while often that makes him suck back and get frustrated, today it meant that I was actually able to gather up that energy in my core and help him cycle it through and really deepen the connection. Tons of lift through the base of his neck and it felt effortless to keep my elbows soft and keep him upright through corners.
- We’re knocking at the door of some canter breakthroughs, and at the very end of the lesson played a tiny bit with lateral work in the canter cued through my seat. The first time I thought “well, here we go” and shifted my seatbones I let out an involuntary yelp when he said “okay, sure” and just zipped sideways. All that work in keeping our leg yields straight and snappy has started to pay off!
- Overall, I need to find a way to get more conditioning mileage without souring both of us. I did a nice 30 minute march with some flexion work last night, and that seems to have helped support today’s lesson, but I need to start adding wind to him so he we can actually have that canter breakthrough – so he can hold the canter for long enough to tinker with it more. (Not lost on me that he actually is decently fit for his age, the season, etc., so I also need to get better about using some of that fitness when it matters. Not all the time, obviously, but occasionally it’s okay to get him truly good and tired.)