The change in weather has proven to be the best thing for Ransom and I both. We were now on Day #3 consecutive, so I wasn't entirely sure how much "gas in the tank" we'd have. But I pressed on, lunged him briefly in side reins, and hopped aboard.
Jen arrived, and we worked through a few "bugs" in preparation for the weekend show. First, that free walk to working walk transition - can Ransom keep on moving in that beautiful free marching free walk into the working walk? Well, he insisted quite a number of times on moving to trot with any collection and leg pressure. Jen suggested, "Next time he does that, really get after him. Maybe you're not being forceful enough." As I shortened the reins, I added leg and seat, and he popped to trot. A very sharp halt (ugly head, but I did get him halted hard), and I pushed right back to working walk. He got a little better. It will take rides all week to improve it, and I might still be facing lower working walk scores. On the flip side, our free walk? Is phenominal! Perhaps the best I've EVER had on Ransom. It's very marching, very forward, and very fluid as he gently lowers his head without tugging the reins outta my fingers. I love it!
Next, the trot. We focused on what "feels good". What's forward enough to get his legs moving about, and motivated without looking speedy. The trick will be, to keep my posting cadenced, but keep enough leg on to move him on forward. This seems to lengthen the stride without rushing it. His transitions were just this side of amazing.
And finally, canter. Near the end of the lesson, we rode canter as it would be in Training 2. Pick up canter in the near short corner, ride the long side, canter circle @ center, and transition back down to trot after the circle. Again, I will have a focus - keep steady half-halts down the long sides, and add outside leg on the last 3/4 of the circle. This seems to keep the canter steady throughout, rather than speeding down long side, and poking through the circles.
To round out the lesson, I worked with Ransom on leg yields at walk, and trot. Jen is now the first person to see them, well, other than me feeling them. And the verdict?
*drum roll please, and a long deep breath, just for the pausing effect*
The Chiropractic work, well, worked! Once Ransom remembered what I really wanted him to do, we had great leg yields at trot, heading both right, and Left! The work Dr Robin did made a huge difference! I am anxious to get some video of his trotting leg yields, so I can really see for myself what they look like.
So, with Monday off to rest, and Wednesday off, Ransom will work the rest of the week at varying degrees of difficult. Tuesday night? Working hard work! Thursday, much of the same. Friday will only be as hard as he makes it. If he rides really light, collected, and behaved, without any obvious outbursts, I'll keep it short. Otherwise, I'll probably push until I get exactly what I want.
The pressure is building... *chuckle* Who am I kidding?! I'm not going this weekend to "kick tail & take names"... I'm going with the same attitude I had at Hearthstone - I'm just gonna have Fun!