We had a great lesson working on our changes and half pass. Changes have been hard for me to practice because I can't feel if they are clean or not and before moving I was riding alone 99% of the time so for the most part I wasn't practicing them. Mystic is such an honest horse and the changes don't upset him at all so he either changes clean or changes 1/2 of a stride late. The 1/2 stride late is so hard for me to tell because it still feels so easy and nothing about him changes. No bucking, no head tossing, no tail swishing, no nothing. We got a super hard exercise to work on that will spotlight any tiny bit of your horse not being on the aids. Not only was it super hard to begin with but she made me do it with no stirrups! I started out by crossing my stirrups over my saddle. At F (tracking left) we picked up the counter canter, B we did a 1/4 of a 20 meter circle, once reaching the middle we had to do a full 10 meter circle tracking right (so now on the correct lead), we then took that back into the counter canter (once closing the circle) on to the quarter line (we are now on the quarter line right by E), once straight on quarter line we were ready for a change! We started thinking about the change in 3 strides which really helped me. The first stride is used to push the horse forward, the second stride you change your legs, and the third stride you shift your weight and give the aid for the change. We did this exercise going both directions and I got off barely being able to walk! Super hard, but also super fun!
We finished off our lesson with some half pass which is easily one of my favorite things to do! She had 2 cones set up down the centerline and we had to half pass off the wall and all the way through the cones and then immediately leg yield back to the wall. This really helps make sure that Mystic is not just dropping his shoulder in the half pass and is truly off of my leg. I have really been working on this exercise for the last couple weeks and he has improved so much. His half pass right has always been decent, but lacking enough bend sometimes, but going left has been very difficult. This morning we got them both ways super nice. It felt amazing! A big take away, and one that I already knew, is that I need to be less restrictive in my reins and use even more inside leg. She said we are still on the right track and will be ready for Heart of the Valley in May!
I also just bought Mystic a Total Saddle Fit dressage girth and used it for the first time today. When I was just walking him to warm up I could already feel a difference. During my lesson I didn't even think about it but I also didn't feel the need to adjust my saddle ever. Normally my saddle slips from side to side and just moves around in general. Now that I know it works well I am going to invest in the sheepskin cover and maybe even one for Mylo!