The lesson I had on Faxx a few weeks ago has really paid off. Marie made me realize that instead of bending when going right, he is just falling in and leaning on his inside shoulder to avoid actually bending. (Because, you know, mom, that is SOOOOO hard!) Now that I am aware of that, I am using more inside leg to push him to the outside rein and keep him there, while taking a tad more inside rein to encourage the bend. It is truly amazing how small corrections can make such a huge difference. And also how quickly some ‘bad habits’ can be improved. On the circle he is bending well and no longer leaning. He is working well and I am starting to introduce half pass at walk and trot. Although because of his tendancy to just fall to the right, the half pass to the right is a real challenge. He just wants to fall to the right instead of bending. But this too shall pass!! He has really gotten the concept of following my seat in trot and canter and I can shorten and lengthen his strides by just ‘shortening’ or ‘lengthening’ the ‘follow’ of my seatbone. It still seems a really big stretch before I will be able to get him to do the canter/walk transition in second level. But that is OK. he is so much more trainable than he was last year – I think his mental maturity level has finally caught up to his body! Last year when I would present something new, no matter how simply I broke down the steps, he would have a complete mental meltdown sometimes. Like, when asked to do shoulder in he would sometimes just start cantering almost in place. He no longer does that and seems to understand better when faced with something new. His canter is simply fabulous – nothing to do with me – just what God gave him.
To be continued! Soon!