Dressage night for Harley. Tremendous effort on his part. I find that, when I'm only thinking about "ohmygoshwhatdoIdonext" in panic throughout the test pieces, he's very figety on the bit, wiggly, and completely does whatever's possible to avoid contact. If I think about it slightly, and focus more on the quality of the ride, he's so much nicer. So that's what we'll do on Saturday evening - focus on the quality, while still thinking about the pattern.
Rode TL2 completely backwards of how it should be, on purpose, near the start of the ride. He was decent, and while some things were good, others were horrible. Anxious to break canter being my least favorite moments. With that complete, and a few parts of TL1, I figured we were both done with "patterns on repetition", and it was time to break things up.
Three-circle canters, and anytime he broke, he cantered longer. He's dropping the gait almost unexpectedly lately, so I started paying attention to what was happening right before - a slight drop in head, and a tiny bit of hanging on the forehand, then PLUNK. Canter over. With this in my mind, I saved it for later in the ride.
A bit of shoulder-fore. A little leg yielding at trot. Very nice, and better than expected.
Back at that canter on a 20m circle - testing out if I really knew what the indicator was before he broke to trot, everytime he'd start to hang on my hands, I'd squeeze up tight with both legs. BooM! The solution! Subtle things to pay attention to in the ride - thus more focus on the quality of the ride rather than the pattern.
Some walk to sitting trot transitions, followed by some stretchy trot rising, back to sitting (loose contact), then drift down to walk. Things here went fairly well. A few bobbles if I moved from sitting to posting and back sitting, but he's becoming steadier here.
50minutes hard work left him huffing and puffing yet again. Though slightly cooler out, he was sweating all over. Cool hose over his neck and legs, and he settled out. I'll make it a project next week to body clip him - the fuzzy yak he is just can't handle the temperatures. At least not at this workload.