The first thing was that I think I should be expecting Emi to be more reliably on the bit. JW agreed with my assessment and we discussed how to go about addressing it. I added that when Emi's tense she really carries the tension in her neck. As I was telling her this the horse before us left the arena and Emi gave a perfect demonstration of the tension in her neck.
JW said the solution was getting her from my inside leg to my outside rein. The way we accomplished this was to leg yield on a circle until she softened and came round. We did about a circle and a half before Emi decided she couldn't possibly keep moving off of my leg. We pushed through a little further until she softened and then straightened her out of it. JW said leg yielding nose to the wall would accomplish the same thing as I need to get her connected from a leg to the rein and once I have her on one side I'll have her on the other.
As we were working on this JW said that I needed to bend her right. I told her bending right was my second issue! To which she replied "how did I know?" JW said Emi doesn't bend right because I don't make her bend right. She went on to say that her gut feeling is that Emi's just a left handed horse, but she did say to explore teeth, saddle, chiro etc. On the teeth and saddle fronts I believe we are totally good. Her saddle was checked and adjust just a couple of months ago and her teeth were done at the beginning of the year. She was also adjusted when her teeth were done but it's possible she needs to be re-adjusted.
The third issue is the canter transition. JW watched those and said it's still just a matter of time. In her experience trying to stuff them together and force the transition causes a lot of problems later on in life. She also said that she feels a canter that is slow to develop is very common in the cobs. She "implored" me to be patient and that it would come together. I'm totally okay with that answer...I just wanted to be sure I was on the right track.
We worked through all three issues on Friday and then got to go back and do it all over again on Saturday. I had some video that I watched on Friday night and had a chance to really think about the things we had covered. Saturday Emi and I both brought our A game. I was determined to do a better job of asking for right bend and also keeping my hands low. One of the pitfalls of riding with out enough instruction is that odd bad habits pop up. I don't think I've ever had a problem with my hands being too high until I was called on it this weekend. Ugh.
Anyway, Saturday was a blast! The right bend was significantly better as was the connection and I tried to be really diligent about not over-bending her to the left. We worked quite a bit on getting her moving off my right leg and picking up her right shoulder. We had some really lovely trot work. At the end of the ride we did a 6 loop serpentine, going from the rail to the centerline (and back). As I started out I mumbled under my breath that "this is going to be hard." I forgot we have a two way headset so JW responded that yes it was going to be hard. LOL.
It's so fun to see those glimpses of what Emi will look like a year or five from now. She's going to be fancy. I'll let the video speak for itself.
We did discuss our current show plans. JW completely agrees that it's intro for us until the canter falls in to place. I really appreciated getting a chance to discuss it with her. I haven't really been that excited about showing intro again but after talking about it I'm going to take her out at least once more this season and see if we can nail two solid tests.
Side note, although kind of related. Friday marked a year since I took a lesson on Cardi. It was pretty neat to be able to take a lesson on Emi exactly one year later.