J didn't want to come watch my lesson tonight, having more important things like cooking and laundry to do, so I went to the barn straight from work. Ashke greeted me with lots of whinnies and stuck his head in the halter. I groomed him and got him tacked up, then went to the arena.
An hour and twenty minutes before my lesson.
Do not do this.
We warmed up and then stood and waited for the lesson to start. By the time our time rolled around, Ashke was convinced we were done and he was pissed I was making him work again. Cassandra rode him for a bit and worked on some of the things I just don't know.
1. Warm up for ten minutes, then ride the lesson.
2. Understand he goes better on the rail than in the middle of the arena.
3. Homework for the next two weeks is to work on him bending through his body, moving his energy forward and not sideways. Cassandra says he needs to release his shoulder and bend through his rib cage. (I have absolutely no clue what that means . . . . )
4. Keep working on the canter.
5. Bring a freaking dressage whip, because if I don't I will need it. Murphy's law.
6. Try to get him out on the trail a couple of times, as a reward for his hard work.
My really big awesomeness tonight was watching him walk away from me and he was swinging his right hind leg correctly, instead of swinging it to the inside in a half-circle. I believe I have dressage to thank for that, since it has increased his back strength, which in turn has begun to correct his stride. I really didn't think that was a possibility. I really thought he was going to swing that leg inside forever.
The other really big awesomesauce was him picking up his correct lead in both directions on the first ask, without cross-cantering.
The last time I asked him to canter, I leaned forward and dropped contact. He refused to canter and I slowed back to a trot. Cassandra asked if I knew why he hadn't trotted and I was able to tell her (I recognized what I had done, after the fact.) She said it would take me a little while to figure it out. At least I recognized it seconds after I had done it. That's almost the same as not doing it.