When I take up contact from the free walk, it's time to work. Do not let Licorice fuss and balk and generally screw around. Use inside rein and inside leg to move him into the outside rein and tilt his nose in. Then straighten. Then do outside bend. Then straighten.
If I ask Licorice to move off my inside leg, I MUST get a reaction. I'm totally guilty of just doing it and then going ahead with whatever I'm working on, without checking to see if he 'actually' moved off my leg.
We worked a lot on bend and straight lines and we got way better about not falling apart when we change directions.
Then it was time to work on sitting trot. Ugh. I told L that I had been practicing my sitting trot and that it wasn't working. That I was stiff and Licorice was stiff and we were a hot mess. She had me start sitting the trot and gave me some pointers. Sit taller. Allow your hip joints to go down and up when Licorice goes down and up. Relax you arms.
But mostly she said that I look fine and that sitting trot is best learned by sitting the trot. And then sitting the trot. And then sitting the trot some more. And realizing that you ARE going to bounce because it's a bouncy moving gait and that the trick is to go WITH the bounce and not fight against it.
We then moved on to working on canter transitions. Licorice still wants to run into the canter and I fall apart. So every time I asked for canter, if he sped up we went back to moving off my leg and coming back to a reasonable trot. If he was tense, I would spiral in and then spiral out until he came back to me. Then ask again.
It took about four times but then MAGIC!! A lovely canter transition EXACTLY when I asked it and with NO tension! Yipeee!
I still am having a hard time finding the elusive spot between crazy ass canter and crazy ass trot. Licorice doesn't believe me when I tell him that he can canter balanced and prefers to barrel along. When I half halt him, he just goes into a spastic trot.
Since I'm riding again with Brooke in a clinic the weekend after this, I think I will spend some time trying to work that out.
Licorice was a very good boy for our lesson. After our lesson, when I took off his bridle, he was a pig. He turned his head and walked off, so I had to grab him with just the reins around his neck. Then he turned his head and lifted it to look at someobody else. Because all the horses were eating dinner and Licorice wanted to know why HE wasn't eating dinner. I finally managed to wrestle his halter on, but it was practically a workout. Phew.
Tonight, I'm going to see Cavalia. If you haven't heard of it, it's like Cirque Du Soleil but with PONIES!!!! It's supposed to be amazing and I have VIP tickets which mean free food, free wine and fantastic seats. So excited!!!