We worked hard today. He was a little fresh feeling when I got on so we did minimal walking and went right to trot work. I let him move out on a longer rein for a few laps to get warmed up and stretched, and give his mind a chance to switch into working mode. Then we did LOTS of figure 8’s. We changed directions across long diagonals, short diagonals, the middle of the arena, and straight down the center line. Each time, the big focus was to go from one bend, straight, and then to the other bend without losing balance or rhythm, without falling on the forehand, and without getting excited and hopping into a canter. Of course each of the above happened once or twice, but we started doing it right consistently by the end.
I started feeling like he was anticipating the haunches-in that we’ve been practicing the last week or so each time I brought him to a walk down the long side, so when we had enough of the figure 8’s, we schooled shoulder-in instead. We did shoulder-in at the trot down the long side, then picked up a canter on the short side, cantered a 20 m circle, then back to trot, trot down the quartline and leg-yield to the wall. Then a walk break, walking straight up the quarterline making sure he didn’t anticipate the leg-yield back the the wall, then back into the trot the other direction, and the same exercise again beginning with shoulder-in.
Just about the time I was thinking we’d had enough and I was tired, another rider showed up and watched us work a few minutes, then asked if he collected at the trot at all. Well, he does a little, but it’s a lot of work! We showed her what we could do, and she suggested we tried the leg-yield from there, aiming to move over straighter instead of with the haunches slightly trailing (yeah, those darn haunches again, not moving over…). We gave it a go and it was a little better! We called it quits there, I was worn out! It was a very good ride though 🙂