I had another lesson on Cobie on Monday. In some ways this lesson didn't seem as successful as the first one but I know it was because we pushed him harder. Cobie really didn't like my ideas on how he should go around and got pretty frustrated towards the end of the ride. We first worked on getting him in front of my leg and willing to step bigger at the trot. He has a nice canter and his default is to just pick up the canter when pushed. Once we got him in front of my leg and willing to open up his stride we then moved on to getting him to accept the bit and lower his neck. He took some convincing but we did have some really nice work during this time. We then moved on to leg yielding both on a circle and then from the center or quarter line. We would start with a 10 meter circle before making a turn and this was my time to set up the leg yield to be successful. If I couldn't flex him in and out with out a fuss before that turn then I really didn't "have" him and our leg yield wasn't very good.
Mary and I discussed the fact that too often we accept work that is mediocre and we are left crossing our fingers that our leg yield (for example) is good enough. Instead, we need to be disciplined enough to expect perfection, or as close to that as we can get, so that we are sure of the result we are going to get when we turn down the center line for that leg yield. In my lesson I could tell when I was or was not going to get a good leg yield based on that initial circle. Yes, it takes more time when I have to make my circle three times rather than once but in the long run it's worth it as we are both being trained to do it correctly. And...at some point it won't take 3 circles to be set up to do it correctly. I was thinking about this at work today and really think that partially we accept this kind of work because we are used to that in our society. Sometimes we consider something good "enough" or we are in a hurry which makes us skip past something or do a job halfway. I am going to make it my goal to get good work all of the time rather than just accepting what is offered to me.