Since Midge and I are officially prepping for a mini show season this fall, the focus last night was on establishing a baseline for where we're currently at and then setting the necessary homework to be prepared for our first dressage show. Surprisingly, 'more forward' wasn't on our list! EC was really happy with our trot work, saying the tempo is just right and that Midge is really starting to have a nice cadence and carries herself from behind more often than not. Only homework there is to add a bit more contact and just generally ask for slightly 'more' - the suggested exercise was the ever useful spiral where I'm to keep the same speed as we spiral in, asking for her to step 'bigger' and more under herself. I'm to remember to keep my reins super even and my hands together and level as soon as she is going well - no nitpicking and 'helping'.
If anyone actually keeps tabs on my boring lesson recaps, you'll remember previous homework has been leg yields and the start of travers. Travers is still pretty shaky - Midge is like "I cannot possibly have my head even slightly bent in the direction of travel", because she really wants to pop that shoulder, but we get a stride here and there and having her haunches in is at least not an issue. There of course is a method to that madness, and that is that we can ask for our canter from that position and have a decent chance at a balanced transition. I'm so pleased that we had 3 really nice right lead canter departs, but there were probably three others where I lost the shoulder and either got the wrong lead or no canter at all. We ended on a good one and switched directions, again the exercise being travers on the wall to canter large around the arena, spiraling in to a 20 m circle, then back to trot. Midge is much stronger to the left so physically she had no issues with that. I however, had serious issues keeping her straight, both in the transition and down the long sides. She was really drifting right and dragging me along. EC laughed and gave us trot/canter transitions as homework. No surprises there, but what is funny is that Midge has gone from "can't bend right!" to "can't bend left". Proof I've been doing my homework, also proof that I've been neglecting the rest.
We were all much happier with Midge's work ethic last night, but of course many jokes were still made at her expense. EC remarked Bridget would like to just stand around and be a couch, which of course made me laugh as I refer to her often on here as my mobile couch. I do get the feeling she really likes Ms Bridget though. When I mentioned I had bought Bridget as an opposite to counteract Ginger's silliness, and likely should have got something more in the middle of the two, EC was quite positive about Bridget. She feels like we can work with what's there and that there's hope for us - the fitter Midge gets (hopefully) the more honest she'll be about moving out nicely. She's a decent enough mover we can have some fun with dressage even if the eventing thing doesn't work out. On that note, though, we do have a jumping lesson next week and she would like for us to enter the crossrails division at the next hunter/jumper show (in less than a month - eek!) for the experience.