During our walk warm-up, the sprinklers popped on, and Sydney spooked hard. It was enough to unseat me and send me scrambling for the reins. Once I was back under control, I realized that I was back on a familiar rocket. I immediately sent Sydney into a small circle, driving him forward with my outside leg. That energy had to go somewhere.
But then I remembered what Christian Schacht (world's best clinician) had said, no more small circles. So instead of driving him forward, I switched up my aids and sent him sideways. I took a STRONG hold of that outside rein and PUSHED with my inside leg. Within moments, Sydney's behavior became much more submissive, and he started to listen.
We spent most of the ride schooling to the right. For whatever reason, his neck was quite stiff. While tracking left, I just couldn't get him off my inside rein so I decided to use that to my advantage and track right. Almost immediately he was on my outside rein, he was heavy of course, but at least he was there.
It was an interesting ride because he was completely on my outside aids only. There was only one place on our 20-meter circle where I needed inside leg. The rest of the time I was struggling to keep him on the circle; he wanted to just keep drifting out. Once I realized that I was probably using too much inside leg, it became easy to shift him in and out on the circle.
I was also able to school the right lead canter departure. Now that I know how much outside rein I can hold, his canter departures are getting less and less wild. My new goal for myself is to ask for the departure without shortening my reins and leaning forward. As soon as I shorten my reins, he gets tense and worried about the departure. That makes me tense and lean forward. I need to trust the contact that I have, sit back, and scoop him UP into the right lead canter.
I have a lesson this afternoon so I know we'll be working on it!