Last night I rode Faxx. Since he’d been really ‘chomping’ on the Baucher bit, I tried him again in the Sprenger KK snaffle bit. He did not chomp on it as much as he did the Baucher – held it quietly in his mouth for the most part – but was more reluctant to take contact. I leg yielded, tried shoulder in — I pulled out everything in my ‘bag of tricks — it was very difficult to get him to accept the contact. He also kept wanting to get behind my leg. So far, my choices are, mostly connected and taking contact with the Baucher, but as soon as I walk he drops contact and chomps on the bit almost constantly. Or, with the KK snaffle, no chomping, but no real acceptance of the bit either. I’ll give him another ride in the snaffle and see if he was justs having a bad day before I switch him bach to the Baucher. I have not had a lesson on him since last fall – we’re overdue and hopefully some professional advice will also help.
I also rode Fling last night. I was looking forward to trying the flying changes on a circle like Debbie had us work on. She warmed up well, and I am getting her ‘lighter’ in my hands. Had some super trot half passes. I quickly moved to canter, where she still wants to ignore my half halts. Then I put her in a counter canter circle to work on flying changes. OMG! What a super exercise. Not only did we get good flying changes – being on the circle made it much more difficult for her to blow off my half halts! AND, being on the circle also discouraged her from doing her usual “wheeeee!” after the flying change. I got good, quiet changes, with a CONTROLLED canter afterwards and was able to do really good canter half pass. . And the best part? Once I got OFF the circle, the quality of her canter was MUCH better. And she was still listening to my half halts. I am thinking this would be a great way to introduce flying changes to Faeryn and Faxx! I will ask Debbie if that’s how she recommends starting them, or if she has a better way. With Fling, we cantered over a rail put at X to start – but I’ve since been told that’s not the best way. Good, good workout!
Today I rode Faeryn and she was a STAR! I had a few small ‘discussions’ with her about half halting – and then she was very, very good about accepting them. Her trot was really energetic and collected. Her shoulder in is really improving. But her canter – her canter has improved exponentially in the past two months. On a lark, I asked her to do the three loop serpentine (the full width of the arena) that is found in second level. She had absolutely NO trouble with it on the right lead. Perfectly balanced, and no more difficult for her than the shallow loop serpentine from first level. To the left, I had to ‘help’ her a little, and ride her carefully – but it still was not bad at all! We worked on canter lengthenings and trot lengthenings – those are always difficult for me. I am not a good judge of whether her strides are just ‘quick’ or really longer. I don’t feel yet that there is enough ‘oomph’ in either trot or canter for a true medium yet — but given how much her canter improved in the last few months – that’s probably just around the corner. And the icing on the cake? I asked her to do canter from walk and she did a huge, upward depart. And, feeling lucky, I asked her to do a downward to walk from canter and she darn near nailed it on both leads. She may have snuck in a half stride of trot — but the downwards were connected and through. She got peppermints and pats and we quit for the night, and I gushed over her and told her how wonderful she was the entire walk back to the barn. 🙂