Inga was up from Florida for lessons! Yay. We started at 7:30 and the rain was kind enough to mostly hold off, a bit of a soft rain, but not too bad and it wasn’t cold (for January in Virginia!).
I started on Bali, hoping we hadn’t gone backwards, and she has had about 2 weeks off out of the past 4. She was good, improved from a few months ago, it was easier to get the contact and keep it through various transitions. I am still losing things when I cross the diagonal. I’m getting much better with the outside rein, what is the right amount of hold vs. give, when, and all that, but still working on keeping consistent with the outside rein. The focus was on keeping the quality of movement all the time. I still stop riding a little bit, at every transition, and this is all transitions…transition to a new direction, to a new gait, any change. Stellung in the transitions, with stellung being the German word Inga taught me (woot, one word! I’m a linguist I say!) that is used to describe that change of bend at the poll where the neck crest flips to follow.
On Neuf, it was super apparent when we crossed the diagonal how much I was losing. So, I focused on round across the diagonal, visualizing it. Keep everything on the diagonal the same as it was on a good circle preceding the diagonal. The last thing, expect a nice canter depart. I still get worried a bit that the upward transition will be fumbled, and this is apparent, but by just expecting the nice, smooth departure, it happens.
I really practiced a lot of diagonals, and am continuing to practice diagonals as my self-assigned homework on all the ponies. Inga and I had an exchange of how to work on sitting trot on Neuf, I mentioned what I have done on prior horses and was starting to do on Neuf, which is sit 3 or 5 beats then rise again (you can do an even number but you end up on the wrong posting diagonal), and she suggested sitting a few steps when asking for the trot from the walk. She feels that is easier for the young horses. I expressed my worry that I’d be killing his trot if I did that, since anyone can sit a western pleasure jog, but she didn’t seem too worried about that. So, I’ll also play around with that for a few steps at a time.
Great to have a couple of lessons mid-winter!