Right.. There! That's perfect! Hold that thought, now, will ya?!
That had to be what Ransom was thinking last night. I surprised him with a loose ring twisted wire bit, and the flash noseband, none of which he was too happy about. We argued on the lunge line just a little while about the definition of canter-to-trot and trot-to-walk. He can, in fact, walk-on on the lunge line. Dingaling.
After about fifteen minutes on side reins, I hopped on. I found him hesitant to start out, so I tried giving him a decent amount of rein & light contact. But just as soon as I felt him leaning on my hands at the trot, whack! I tugged on the reins, both legs on. His head popped up sharply, but at least he got off my hands & carried himself. We repeated this a handful of times at trot, both directions.
I did one set of canters in each direction, asking in the first short side corner, down long side, 20m circle at the center, down to trot between centerline & the rail. Just like Test 1 is going to be. He did pretty well - certainly didn't lean on my hands at the canter.
Realizing I was having a bit of trouble with that left stirrup staying with my foot again, I focused on some transitions with Ransom, a little spurt of sitting trot, a few sets trot to walk to trot to walk, and then I got down to my low-end circle, and started working on myself. If I am going to canter in the test, I better darn well figure out why I keep lifting my legs in the up transition.
Got it figured out, too! I was swinging my leg back to ask. Yuck! I discovered this by sitting a circle of trot, then asking. All I need to do on a circle, or in the corners for that matter, is look up into the circle/corner, and squeeze. He gets his leads all on his own (smarty pants), and the transition is a heckuva lot smoother. Quite magical, actually. With just a little squeeze (rather than the almost kicking taps I was doing), I'm also able to keep stirrups right where they go. I repeated this drill a number of times in both directions, sit trot to canter, then rising trot to canter. Found the light squeeze makes for much prettier collection and even a tucked / dropped head into the transition. That's what he's been waiting for all along, I suppose.
Cooled down with a few reminders of how to transition from working walk to free walk, and halts. Total including lunge line warm up, an hour. We'll need to continue this level of activity all the way up through the show.
Which reminds me.. Countdown to Sienna, 13 days.