I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving (if you celebrate). I followed mine with having a lesson on Friday morning. It was really really cold, even though our lesson was at 10am. Despite the cold, it was an amazing lesson.
I got there and was tacked up about fifteen minutes early. That was the perfect amount of time to warm Scarlet up. He definitely moves much better after a full walk-trot-canter rotation on both sides and I wanted us to get the best of the lesson.
My trainer said that we had improved a lot. That made me really happy. Our contact and responsiveness was much better. Even the right bend had improved somewhat. Not much but when you start out at negative twenty, getting to zero is an improvement.
We worked on getting a good stride going for the canter now that we could do it fairly well at the trot. Scarlet will easily fall into a nice easy canter but it does not have any energy to it. My trainer urged me to ride it as forward as needed, into a gallop if I have to, in order to get a good moment of suspension in the canter. We worked on doing that with both leads. It was definitely a quicker dash around our circle than I normally work with. I had to stand in a two point occasionally to encourage Scarlet to pick his back up and into a good canter. I didn’t have to exclusively be in a two-point which is nice. Once I got him going, Scarlet got the hang of it and kept up the pace.
After the canter was sorted, we worked on the downward transition. To do so, my trainer wanted us to practice transitions within the gait using a half halt. We did this both in the trot and the canter. We extended the gait and then half halted to collect it. This was difficult in the trot as Scarlet thought that we were just stopping. But he got it after a few tries. Going to the right it was harder for him to not break. This is something we are going to have to work on.
After that, we started some lateral work! I was super excited about that as I know that lateral work can really help with suppleness. We did some walk leg yields in both direction. Scarlet thought that leg yielding was too hard so he tried to fake me out by moving “sideways” but really just walking forward and at an angle. We did a few steps sideways, then straightened, and then repeated. We did get some good crosses both directions. Then we tried it at a trot. That was much harder. We had to insist on the cross by starting at the walk and then pushing him into the trot while already moving sideways. We did get some good crosses but that will take a lot of practice.
So my homework for now is:
Canter with energy
Transitions within the gaits
Work on using the half-halt to come down from the canter to the trot (not all the time or he will expect that the half-halt always means go to trot)
Leg yields at the walk and trot
Quite the list for homework. Even more difficult because the holidays are here and time is in high demand for other things. Let’s hope that I can squeeze in rides here and there in order to get some good practice going.