The scheduling stars finally aligned and Inga came for lessons! This is sadly uncommon this year. After getting nearly 2 a month for much of 2014, on both horses, we are at 2 for 2015…and the year is half over.
Bali had an infected bug bite that made her leg blow up, once I got over the worry that she’d “done a suspensory”, she got a shot of Exceed and a round of steroids, but that was 2 days before our lesson. The Exceed shot seems to have made her neck a bit stiffer than usual.
I’ve been warming up more up and open, above the bit, and it has gotten Bali a lot more forward, and now it was lower and rounder sooner. Interestingly, we end up at the same place, I need to just be able to control the being on the bit and roundness from all head elevations. Once Bali was on the bit, we worked on a lot of walk pirouettes, really focusing on stepping under, haunches in, a collecting exercise. I have more difficulty to the right and she gets stuck, and I’m pretty sure I’m pulling, even though I don’t WANT to pull, I am. I will be working on that!
We worked on having good bend, all the way through the body in all the gaits. Particularly in shoulder in and haunches in.
When in canter, we combined the walk pirouette work with some starting canter pirouette steps. It started with me attempting a half canter pirouette, but that fell apart, and so I came down center line, would start one step of canter pirouette, walk, and finish in walk. Canter on same lead, near end of center line, repeat. We did a few, both directions. I needed more walking steps to the right, I have more difficulty to the right and she gets stuck, and I’m pretty sure I’m pulling, even though I don’t WANT to pull, I am pulling. I will be working on that!
We did a few changes, and those are still improving, slowly. Still croup high sometimes, but slow and steady progress.
I hadn’t had a proper lesson on Neuf in months! As I’ve learned, more forward is always the theme for us. The good, I’m feeling confident on Neuf and trust that he is going to try as I ask for more. A year ago, I was feeling pretty confident that he’d be naughty if I asked for more, not a good place to be.
Neuf’s ride was good and Inga had me doing some halt, ask for more flexion, since I tend to lose it, walk on. I’d been working on this on my own, but needed coaching and instruction to get more benefit from the exercise.
I started asking for more push from behind, “make him use those little hind legs”…which might be the first time anyone has called anything on Neuf “little” in a few years.
I need to not fall into my old habit of nagging with my leg, ask, if I don’t get the response, tap with the whip, be clear in my request so Neuf doesn’t tune me out as background noise.
It is probably time for me to start using my dressage saddle on Neuf more often. I’ve mostly been using my jumping saddle when riding out side of dressage lessons.