My lesson tonight went well. After two nights of the Waterford, I put Dreamy back in the loose ring and she was FINE. Just needs a little reminder now and again not to LUG on me, especially to the left. Plus she always does SOOOOOO much better in a FLAT arena, rather than my hilly uneven field. Ya THINK????
We did a lot of walk trot transitions at first. Then Judy had me do a figure eight...10 m trot circle to a 20 m (or larger if needed) canter circle. We started with trotting to the left and then cantering to the right (her good side). It was UNBELIEVABLE! Soft and round and NO RUSHING or hopping behind! I was pretty happy.
Then we did the trot to the right and canter to the left.....I was not doing a good job getting her straight at X and then changing her bend.....so silly mare kept picking up the wrong lead (her easier lead). That was OK with me as at least she was TRYING and picking up this really nice canter despite the lead! So I finally got my act together and we did 3 nice left canters. The nice thing about the exercise it that doing the 10 m circle right afterwards gave us something to do and kept her mind calm. She did not rush at the left lead, but she did get her neck/head all bent to the left and POP that outside shoulder. I had to really think about using my outside aids to almost (as Judy put it) "turn on the haunches" around my circle. She was not able to be "round" in this direction (still using her neck for balance, so it is all lugged out in front of her). But that is OK. I was just really happy at how well she did. And nearly NO pace strides. A couple of times on the downward transition she actually went straight to trot!!!!!!! :D
I said something like, "Well it must be the heat that is making her so relaxed/sluggish at the canter (as opposed to rushing)." Judy laughed and said, "Yeah but maybe she is GETTING it!" LOL! Yeah, that is true. And by 6PM is was much cooler and the entire ring was shaded. :)
Judy said doing the smaller trot circles especially to the right will help strengthen her off hind leg, which is her lead leg in the left canter. She also was impressed at how much better my posture has become at the canter. I am actually sitting up like a real rider, rather than nearly getting into 2-point at the canter! LOL! I think my leaning forward was me unconsciously "encouraging" her to canter, canter, canter!
She also said we are LIGHT YEARS ahead of where we were just the beginning of May. She said she was amazed at the progress we have already made. She admitted she was a little worried during that first lesson! LOL! But I would have never known and I told her that. I told her I appreciated her encouragement and willingness to work with a gaited horse. I told her I wish I could take weekly lessons, but she said something about the fact that obviously I listen and work hard at home in between so it is working for us to have 2x month lessons.
OH and we were talking about Dreamy's age, and maybe she might need some chiro work due to her lopsidedness (which may be a MUCH better route than the Adequan)...and I joked about her being a First Level horse. Judy said she seriously thought we could do First Level with no problems, but that Second would be pushing it. She said if Dreamy were 6 or 7, then yes we could go further than First, but her age is limiting her. I agree.....no use making her do something she physically cannot do. My really big lofty dream is to do First, so I was happy to hear that really would be within our reach. Yeah! :) I feel pretty darn good about my ride tonight. :)
Now that we have ridden 4 days in a row, I think tomorrow is her well-deserved day off. :)