Did I lure you in with hopes this post would be about easy ways to improve something? Sorry. G likes to say I am "famous" for doing things the hard way, and he's probably got a point. So let's not go there, let's just focus on the fact that he thinks I'm cool enough to be famous and move on :)
This is actually a post about lead changes, which I am definitely not famous for, at least in any good way.
Our lesson started with a very grumpy pony, who just couldn't even. Couldn't bend, couldn't do shoulder in, definitely could not make transitions from shoulder in. Eventually, she remembered dressage is a thing and got to work. Once we had our basics reestablished, we spent the remainder of our ride doing some figure eights.
As for the exercise, ride Bridget in as collected and balanced a canter as I can on about a 15m circle, then trot, change bend, and canter on the new circle. Repeat forever and ever. Focus is on balanced and accurate transitions, keeping the trot steps to a minimum and having pony on my aids throughout - any time she ran through it was down to walk, enforce the bend/softness, and immediately back to canter. Midge thought the hardest part of the exercise was bending in a new direction quite so quickly. I found the hardest part was remembering to keep the down transitions forward and organized, I am lazy about dropping her a little and allowing her to pull my upper body forward.
Overall, it went super well, and is the next logical exercise from all those 20m canter 4-5 strides, trot 1, repeat until you want to die circles we do every lesson. It's an excellent exercise for keeping me organized and planning ahead, and also keeping the pony honest between leg and hand.
As a final note, thank you for the words of encouragement on our big goals post! I'm not sure I'm a believer yet, but it's super flattering and motivating to have you all believing in us!