She started off asking how it's been and when I told her I needed a "How to ride your horse for dummy's" book on him she laughed and asked what part I felt needed the most help. Besides wanting help on all of it I really wanted to get a feel for the canter I need to expect out of him. He is so compliant and good that I often settle for a lumbery on the forehand canter because he doesn't put up a fight. Because I had already done some trot warm up we went straight to the canter. Basically, the Pony doesn't want to sit on his butt would rather set his neck and fake it because... who wants to work hard? Not him! We worked on getting him deeper in his frame so that he would have to really sit and use his back. In order to achieve this she said I need to think about my legs/seat and my hands need to be working on different projects. Legs and seat keep the canter bouncy with combustion and my hands keep him from setting his neck and locking me out of access to his jaw.
Once I really got a feel for what his canter needs to be we moved on to some canter half pass. It's pretty wiggly and inconsistent but its in there. I have to think to keep the bend and collection so that it doesn't get flat and long. The hardest part for me is keeping the quality canter as the half pass goes on. We also touched on the very basics of beginning canter puiroettes. To do this she had us do a school horse canter and from there think about using my outside rein to guide him around the turn while not forgetting about the purpose of my inside leg. In all of this work she challenged me to take bigger "risks" with how much as I was asking from him especially in the school horse canter. Because as she reminded me she knows it's in there because she rode it haha!
Then the dreaded changes 😳 My problem now is that Mystic knows the game. It he doesn't know it like I would like him to. He gets the aids and the end goal so he thinks he knows what he is doing. Unfortunately he doesn't know that he needs to change together, not 1 stride later behind. Basically he has a messed up change! We pestered this quite and he actually got quite sassy about it all even throwing some buck/kicks out there. To me, it all felt like crap but what JW reminded me was that even though the changes were not nice the quality of his canter was getting much better because he was becoming hotter of my leg. Looking back at the video it definitely didn't look as bad as it felt thank god.
Finally, we touched on some trot work. We focused on similar things as we did at the canter. He needs more bounce to his trot and not so much shuffling. We got the best shoulder in ever! He is very good at most of his lateral work but I have a tendency to allow it to be flat and boring. I got his shoulders lifted and bigger steps crossing and it felt quite magical! What a huge different that made. After establishing that trot we took it into half pass. The half pass it self is quite good but my ability to change direction from one half pass to the other is not. We worked on keeping the bounce and collection of the trot throughout the whole half pass and then establishing the opposite shoulder in before asking for the new half pass. Without getting the shoulder in first the new half pass is out of balance and quick. Getting the shoulder in was difficult for us so that is definitely going into the homework category.
So our homework from day is is:
-expect the trot/canter quality all the time
-work on the half pass to shoulder in
-work in being able to put him wherever I want him in the canter (shoulder in, haunches in, bending left, bending right, making it bigger, making it smaller, etc) to help with the change
-walk to canter and canter to walks while maintinging the deeper frame and keeping him pushing into the canter instead of jumping into it
Day 2 got fun! But I needed to separate these posts so that I can look back and remember what all went down 😁 I will get video from day 1 and uploaded once I get it on my computer!