I only rode for about 30 minutes yesterday. There were three jumps set up in the arena and a couple of other riders working with their horses (one was working in hand) so Ashke and I worked the edges of the indoor (still raining here, but at least no snow). We started at the walk and I ignored him until he stopped spooking at the scary end of the arena (will this ever stop?). Then we worked on trotting and transitions.
I have been riding him in the Myler bit because it is jointed on the sides and I can ask for bend and he understands. We had decent contact and he was relatively forward, although he begins to feel like he is moving backwards when we approach the scary end of the arena. I usually counter this with more leg and moving his hindquarters toward the object of his hesitation. After a couple of rounds, he stopped being a fraidy cat and just went past the green tarped wall of death. I then started to stop him with a deep breath and exhalation. He was really good at the trot. Good at the walk. Not as quick to stop at the canter.
It did make for some fun times though, when I was struggling to not cough and he was interpreting that as stop.
Our canter was much more controlled and slow in both directions, although now I can feel the effort that cantering to the right takes with his left stifle. Cantering to the left was exceptional, and although he asked to stop a couple of times, he maintained what I asked for without switching leads.
We worked on leg yields, which he does very well from right to left, but is sticky on left to right. Then we did walk pirouettes (they feel like I am doing the correctly, but honestly, I need to see about taking another lesson with CS) which I think Ashke really likes. We finished up with some easy walking to cool off. He was warm but not sweaty and I was dripping. My fatigue level is much lower right now then normal, and 30 minutes was about all I could handle.
I rubbed Ashke down and gave him mash. I think he is gaining muscle in his stifle area and seems to be making slow progress in rebuilding his strength in that right leg. CS, who has been vacationing for the past couple of weeks, called yesterday and was very encouraging. She told me to keep going slow, that there is no hurry, and that next time I see her, she will show me some exercises she does with her horses to strengthen the haunches and stifles. That will be good. She also agreed that we can compete at Novice at the trot, and that there is no reason at this point to push Ashke beyond his physical limits.
I need to print out and memorize the WEIAUSA Novice Dressage Test, since the one I have memorized is from the other organization. That way I will know both before the dressage clinic on the 23rd.