I really had to DRAG myself out to the barn today. Very tired from the rally. But, I did it, and I had a great ride. Pandora was on her best behavior and we rode in the outdoor - it was the absolute PERFECT temperature for riding, and there was a beautiful sunset too.
Again, very responsive to lateral work. We still are just not getting that left bend at the trot - she tilts her face to the outside and leans in over her inside shoulder while swinging her haunches out. I have also noticed that in halt and reinback, she tends to blow through my right leg/rein. So it's all symptoms of the same problem, and I just need to figure out what the problem is. Strength in her hind end, I'm guessing - the right leg since it's the one she ignores, or the left leg since that's the one she swings out to unload? Don't know.
Either way, the more lateral strengthening work we do, the better it will get, I'm sure.
On the plus side, she can hold the correct bend at the walk. So we do a lot of walk-trot transitions on the 20-m circle, trying to hold her in the bend as I transition up. I can actually feel her lean into my inside leg as she makes the upward transition.
She gets excited about the canter transitions too. But, I got some good ones. I am trying everything I can think of to keep her engaged and working hard off her hind end, like a 20-m circle with transitions from trot-canter-trot-canter-trot-walk-canter-trot-canter-walk...etc. It gets her a little riled up, but she carries herself better.
Anyway, lots to work on. There's a nearby dressage trainer I want to try taking lessons with. If all goes well, I'm hoping to take a lesson every other week for several months throughout fall and winter, if I can swing it. We are just at the point where I don't know what to do next, as I've mentioned several times before.
Then, I was thinking about maybe trailering to Inavale for stadium and XC lessons with Brooke as we move from winter to spring, because I could certainly use some of those, and I click really well with Brooke. Brooke is $40/hour for a private lesson, the dressage lady is $35 for a private lesson (don't know how long it is). I think I can do it, it's only an extra $70-80 per month.
Flatwork. I don't remember how it went - ack! I need to keep up with this more.
After the flatwork, I hacked all down the road. Pandora was very calm and relaxed, even when we got to a little 'bridge' section where it's light grey concrete instead of black asphalt, complete with reflective poles on each side. She gave it the hairy eyeball but went right over - her reward was pieces of the pear I grabbed from a tree next to the road.
Didn't ride - family visiting.
Had a pretty nice ride. I did some flatwork for awhile but I just wasn't feeling it, so I headed out to the field to do some trotting. We did quite a bit, plus a little cantering. I even tried some canter-walk transitions downhill like Brian suggested, and that went pretty well. Worked up a nice sweat, then hacked up the road and back.
Day off, family.
Day off, more family.
Finally, a ride! Just shy of an hour. We started off with flatwork. It's coming along really nicely and she's trying really hard for me. I think I will take my first dressage lesson in the first week of November - too much stuff going on in October.
Rode a lot of trot/canter in two-point. It went very well. She really opens up her stride and trucks along when I chill out in two-point for awhile - may be something to consider for dressage warm up. Then I did some sitting and posting trot with no stirrups, which actually went very well.
Then some walk-canter-walks. They went extremely well. Like I've said before, they're nowhere near dressage-quality (I think they're introduced in 2nd level), but they're responsive and she's doing her best to do what I ask. A couple times, we even cantered, walked, changed bend, then picked up the other lead. She got a little grouchy at that one, and I try not to school the walk-canters too often. I think it's asking a lot of her.
So then we headed out to the field. I asked for a walk-canter and she shook her head and wanted to take off, so I had to do some circling and school the walk-canter a couple times till she settled. Then I did some nice expansion-compression of the canter down the long side of the field. Then I picked up the left lead and had to really fight her tendency to dive on the left shoulder when she gallops - really had to tug on the left rein and boot her off my left leg. I never did get that resolved to my satisfaction, but I got her to move off the leg and do a nice circle.
THEN she wanted to gallop, so I figured, what the heck. I couldn't let her get up to top-top speed because there's a section of the field with footing that it's best to not gallop through. But we still went very fast - I think the fastest we've gone since I let her open up a little at Lily Glen. She's certainly got some power.
Finally, we finished up with a 10-minute hack down the road to cool out. Overall a good workout of a ride.