Then, we rode! We ran through some walk pirouettes to start, because Midge could not possibly bend left. We then moved them out onto a larger circle, so essentially like so:
|Back legs on the inside track, pony bent around my inside leg, front legs come around on the outside track. Spiral in and out as needed.|
Then, up into trot. Practicing letting her stretch/take the reins and then picking the contact back up without any pony 'tude. That's tough for Midge, but she was actually stellar (for her) about keeping a consistent, forward, pace and being steady in the bridle. Then we moved up to canter and practiced some trot/canter transitions which were a bit 'meh'...she's still popping that outside shoulder (my fault - too slow catching her with my outside aids!) slightly as I ask, so there's a moment where she's wiggly and above the bit, but then the canter itself is lovely. So, baby steps - we've got the transition in the walk to canter really nice, so I'm sure we'll get back there from the trot too. We sort of messed things up a bit when we added lengthening and collecting and all that lateral work this winter...the wheels fell off elsewhere because I feel like B is really overthinking things now and anticipating me asking for a change in pace or bend and potentially her balance when we don't need one....much pony drama results because of course she knows best and thinks boring straight lines with nothing else to do are beneath her obvious talents...best to invent some new moves like any other dedicated Welsh Cob ;)
|Ginger with her besties this morning|
I was sort of left a bit by myself for all the above. Not to say there wasn't attention being paid or guidance being offered, but I was kind of trusted to sort out the little things myself and just use the exercise and get to work I'm good with that...it's been the same program for so long now I feel like I recognize what is needed and have the tools I need a lot of the time. It's confidence boosting for me because I take her silence to mean I'm using those tools effectively.
Finally, the place where we needed help - riding through some dressage tests! Our centerlines are actually quite straight, but for now I feel like I need to sit the trot and really push her forward to keep her connected....see above about wiggly giraffe pony. We cantered a couple to emphasize forward and straight in her mind, then went outside the box and turned the opposite way in counter canter to keep her guessing. Fun times.
|Treats for being a good girl?|
Changing the left bend as we ran through the tests was also a current weak point. It's not bad, per say, but it's not her favorite side, so anywhere there is a change of bend or transition to the left we get that above mentioned moment of trying to pop to the outside and brace above the bit. At least it's minimal, but certainly something to work on as I'm sure it's not a very appealing picture to see the pony resist, even momentarily. I need to prep better for it and generally just school on a left bend a bit more, I think. It used to be our good side, but such is life :)
We finished with some discussion on how to ride the loops in Training 3...I've seen different things suggested, and even had different feedback from different judges on this last summer. EC suggests more of a triangle shape, ie turn and go straight for a few strides as if you're going across the diagonal, before changing the bend for a half circle over x, then straight again "across the diagonal" before changing back just after the quarterline. Think of the exercise as like riding two short diagonals. That seems like it would keep life simple for me.