In my lessons, EC has been really buckling down on the pony and I. There are a number of things I used to kind of accept as less than perfect, under the thinking that the pony is green, I'm an adult ammy, we're just doing this for fun , and baby steps and all that (Read: SO MANY excuses for being lazy ;)
Here's a list of what is no longer acceptable at any time:
-Crookedness. Rider and/or pony. Just, no, please stop already.
-Slow transitions. Rider needs to be organized, pony needs to respond immediately.
-Rushed transitions. As above.
-Pony not round/working from behind.
-Rider slouching, burying hands in pony's neck.
-Pony fussing/inconsistent in the contact. Either move her up into it, or sit her back if pulling.
-Rider's canter, trot, and walk. Pony does not get to speed up/slow down within the gait without rider asking.
-Rider chooses path. Pony doesn't get to bulge or lean.
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting. I know this is all basic stuff, but until now I've been kind of bad about accepting "good enough" from the Midge, mostly in an effort to keep the peace and avoid drama. I'm particularly bad at allowing her to be slightly behind my leg and then faking a nice connection since she has decent enough gaits to pretend we're stepping up enough behind. We want better though!
So, you can guess where that has got us. Yep, tons of drama. It would have been way kinder to everyone if I had have been consistent from the start. Midge is smart and was getting away with things and she was in charge and happy enough. Now the rules have changed and MIDGE HATES RULES and I am the meanest human ever and who am I to try to tell her what to do, anyways? Ugh.
Under our tougher rules, things have been kind of ugly, but also kind of brilliant. Today, we had much angry flailing because she could not possibly pick up a left lead canter straight and into the contact. When she actually gave it an honest try she was like "Whoa, what kind of magic is this? It's EASY if I put my body where you ask!" And then we proceeded to do a few nice walk to canter transitions and pony was sitting behind and it felt amazing and everyone was happy and life was wonderful.