I've said this before, but being stuck at Introductory Level is a bit frustrating and very humbling. I've been boo-hooing about it for quite some time. After reading something about performing the canter pirouette, I had a better understanding of the organization of the dressage tests and their corresponding levels. What I figured out is that mastery of each level gives the skills necessary for the next level. To give an analogy: you can't do long division if you can't subtract. Until Speedy G and I can maintain a steady rhythm in a relaxed frame (subtraction), we won't get a steady contact which is necessary for connection (long division).
Riding Introductory Level and Training Level are all about teaching rhythm and relaxation. Without those two things, we can't get true connection. But as Speedy G gets more rhythmical and relaxed, I am feeling connection developing. For some reason, this idea of mastering lower level skills has given me some motivation. Speedy and I can't ever advance until we get those bottom tiers of the pyramid mastered. How many times has it been said, there are no shortcuts in dressage?
I am off to the Moorpark schooling show today and will keep it in mind that my goals should be demonstration of rhythm and relaxation.