We did our normal lesson last night, which incorporated all of the things we've been working on. I feel like we've hit a plateau and will be very happy when we tip over the top and start making progress again. It's not that Ashke is bad or not trying - nothing could be further from the truth. Amanda said that is how training progresses and it is normal to have to go back and forth on what you are working on.
Moooom, why are you holding the carrot waaaaayyyy over there?
Last night we worked on keep him straight in the canter by asking for a shoulder fore. We've stopped working on the half-pass because he is not holding himself straight (although I was confused and did half-pass, which is easier for him than the leg yield, by accident last night) by working on the leg yield at the canter (still a little rough) and shoulder fore at the canter on the circle without losing the outside hind leg and not pulling the inside rein.
It seems that pulling on the inside rein is something that is built into my muscle memory and very difficult to correct. I know, you are surprised.
Surveying his kingdom
He is finally getting a decent lengthening (medium trot) while remaining in his box and I am getting so much better at not giving him four foot of rein and a ham sandwich while he does it. We also worked on adjustability in the canter on a 20 m circle, then did a couple of transitions across the middle. Toward the end of all of the canter work, Ashke got a tad bit bouncy, although certainly not to the same extent as in prior months. He also looked hard at a couple of terrain coloration differences and tried to see where Ardee was in the barn. Distracted much?
I rode through it only offering a "stay with me please" comment at the distraction. Amanda told me I was doing great and I answered by saying that someone else would probably look better on him (poor guy). She got pensive and thoughtful and said "no, I think the two of you were meant for each other". That kind of jerked my head around because as much as I love my poneh, I've always felt like he might do better with a better rider.
Always getting into something
Amanda basically said that I don't get upset when he gets bouncy (I do sometimes, but I've trying very hard not to let him distract me), or looky or acting out. She said that a lot of riders would react to that energy and it would descend to a fight, whereas, I just let it roll off of me, most of the time. I think that is a talent I developed when I was managing restaurants, and then honed as a human resource manager. You have to develop professional distance so you aren't drawn into their emotional reaction to whatever flipped their switch. It was beneficial when raising smart ass teenager, now I guess I am applying that discipline to my riding as well.
We were done after about 40 minutes, which left us both sweaty, hot and tired. The cold water rinse I gave Ashke afterwards seemed very welcome.
He has put on a little weight and a lot of muscle just behind his withers.
He is on grass hay and water. No supps. No alfalfa.
I was lucky enough to catch some of Amanda's ride on Laz, her FEI dressage horse. And a little bit of video.
Working on piaffe and passage.