Liam and I had a great lesson today. We worked on more test parts with Julie. We started with lots of stretchy walk on circles and diagonals. Then we stayed in our long stretchy frame as we began our trot work. Again, lots of circles and diagonals. Liam was working softly and happily. Then we gathered up the reins some and started big trot-little trot, then walk-trot transitions. Then some trot canter trot transitions. It was all easy, Liam was right with me and no matter what I asked his reply was “Sure, I can do that.” It was awesome.
Then we upped it another notch and began the canter from the corner to X and counter-canter back to the corner. The first one we messed up, I wasn’t quite prepared and surprised him by turning too sharply at X so he broke to trot. But he didn’t fall apart, and as we approached the corner we went right back into the canter and as we came out of the short side of the arena we headed right back to X to try again. This time we nailed it, counter-canter back to the corner.
As we came out of the short side, we headed across the diagonal to reverse, at X I half-halted and he went to turn back to the rail in counter-canter, but I held him steady on the diagonal and dropped him down a gear into trot. He quickly adjusted himself and carried on as if it had been his intention all along, and as we approached the corner we were cantering again the other direction, then out of the short side to X and counter-canter back to the corner again. He got it. Then transition to trot in the center of the short side, then circle and trot up the center line, walk, halt at X and big pat on the neck!!! His attitude never changed, I think he was having fun. And I definitely was having fun. It’s amazing how much he’s changed in the last few months that this work is so easy for us now!