We spent a lot of the lesson addressing the crookedness that has developed in the last couple of months when tracking left. It's not present every step but when we get stuck in it I have trouble straightening things back out. It feels like a combination of her falling out her right shoulder and falling in with her left haunches. JW said that her rib cage is against my left leg and we set about addressing the problem. We worked at the walk for a while, riding shoulder in and being sure to catch her with my right leg so she didn't fall to the outside. There were a lot of pieces to keep track of and it got better as we went along. We also worked on a circle, thinking turn on the haunch and bringing her shoulders around. Once we moved up to the trot we did some leg yields to get her working off my leg. The good ones rode like big kid leg yields. Woohoo!
After spending some time addressing the crookedness issues we moved on to the canter. Wouldn't you know we displayed our new found ability to do a reasonable canter depart. Hooray! Since our show a couple of weeks ago I've really been working on them. That's not to say I hadn't really been working on them before but I've been making a concentrated effort to ride them thoughtfully, setting her up well and asking her to go like a big kid. It only took us two years (she just passed the two years under saddle mark) but seemingly overnight, we've found a reasonable canter transition.
I was hopeful that we could demonstrate it in our lesson and we did! I think JW was pleasantly surprised when we cantered off. We did some leg yields at the canter, asking her to load that inside hind more and we are to continue practicing that. We didn't do a lot of canter as it tires her out pretty quickly, but we did do a few transitions each way and all were decent...or really quite good for where we've come from.
Once we moved back to the trot we approached the crookedness issue a different way. We established a lot of bend to the inside while using lots of inside leg, and then suppling her on the outside rein with out losing the bend. We had some beautiful trot moments!
I watched the video after my lesson on Saturday evening and I was really pleased with what I saw. Yes, I need to stay more on top of things but Emi's looking great. Her general attitude and willingness to work have really turned around these past couple of months and I'm starting to feel like I'm riding a grown up horse. It's amazing to be at the point where we are starting to do grown up work and I'm delighted with where we are at right now.
All photos are courtesy of Emi's breeder - Cindy Miller.