Since the last post.. Here's what I think are the highlights and things worth sharing from our rides.
*Improved trot quality - the jump work has definitely picked up his trot energy. I don't feel like I'm always pushing, but I can ask once, and he'll pick up the pace.
*Riding "outside the lines" - I spent two days last week with brief spurts of 'arena work', followed by deliberately riding outside the arena "space". In the open pasture, walk, and trot, asking for a general direction, but letting him pick his space for feet to land. Things here went a LOT better than I expected. We also rode into the shadowy places in the pasture a bit, up against the brush line a little, and up and down the small inclines near the pond.
*Cantering down the diagonals. To get out of the habit of riding canter straight lines on only one side of the arena (my jumps cluttering the other side), I rode canter around the short side, then straight down the diagonal. Towards the end of the diagonal, Harley had a little "hesitation" - we did some simple changes way back last year or so, and I could feel him wondering what was different, why I didn't ask for them.
*The funniest moment had to be trot on the circle, head down the diagonal, ask for more trot. He picked up a canter on the lead from the circle. I eased him down, but immediately requested that big trot again. So he picked up canter again, on the other lead we'd be going into. I laughed hard, eased him back to a trot, and couldn't do more than finish out that diagonal, then let him walk with a good pat. I realize it wasn't what I asked for, and in his confusion he started guessing, but the different leads sure cracked me up. He shook his head hard after the second canter I denied him, and I felt his tail swish hard. *giggle*
*Riding the walk in warm-up, stretching my legs "dog & frog" on his back footfalls, and not the front. I watched our shadow a little, and started to feel when the back legs move relative to the front legs. Neat!
*Feeling for the collection, rather than looking for it, paying close attention to my seat and the little "rise" one side or the other.
We're scheduled to lesson again this coming Saturday. I'm anxious and ready to get at it!