For Ashke, that is . . .
We had a great lesson last night. Ashke is getting more and more in tune with my aids and is trying so hard to get the answer correct, that we have to continually go back and reinforce the lessons we've already mastered.
Last night we worked on shoulder in and shoulder out, haunches in and haunches out in both directions. I find it fascinating that the direction of travel around the arena makes a huge difference in his ease at doing the exercise. We are still working on stepping up underneath himself with his right hind. It's so much better than it was a year ago, but still an issue.
We worked on a lot of trot prior to the lesson, but then added trot leg yields and trot half-pass to the tasks. We finished up our extended warm up by doing canter half pass and serpentine work with simple changes.
For our lead changes, we put up two obstacles to give us a reference, but it did not take Ashke more than two changes to suddenly anticipate what was going to happen next. We went back to circles until he was relaxed and not throwing his haunches around, and then would randomly change our direction and the placement of the change.
There were a couple of times when we did a halt and I asked him to relax. It's not going to help if he is tense. There were also a couple of times when I had to apologize for not being clear in what I was asking for. Everytime we halted, he dropped his head and let the tension go, seeming to understand that there is no race to do this or learn this, we have plenty of time.
I finished the night with a change from left to right, five or six strides of straight, and then a change back to the left lead. That was on a straight line and he took both changes from my legs and seat. I was so proud and made a huge deal. He was very proud of himself.
We ended there.
As a note on the night, I ended up cleaning up the carcass of a dead pigeon someone had murdered in the tack room. It had to be a cat, but a fox would have eaten the egg that she was carrying as well.
Good cat. Bad place to leave it though.