I recognize, however, that this probably means Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will no doubt pop in for a visit next week (or tomorrow), but for right now, I am going to appreciate how much fun Captain Awesome is to work with.
For the lesson, I showed JL how we had worked on the suppling exercises that she had laid out for us last time: flexing his neck to the left and right, serpentines, figures of eight, keeping a feel for the corners of his mouth, and so on. Once I had gone through all of that, we worked on keeping him in a shorter frame without his head popping up. Sydney is to the point where he should now be able to work in that frame all of the time.
Since he was being so quiet and relaxed, I had him do a wake up canter although I couldn't get the energy of our earlier gallop. I told JL that I had been playing around with walk to canter transitions so we did a few of those. Now that I can maintain a steady contact, asking for the walk to contact transition makes sense. It's like a revving an engine with the brake on - don't let the front go anywhere until the engine is fully powered up.
The fun part about these transitions is how uphill in the canter he is once we are cantering. We did a few transitions, all of which he did without any fussing. He was actually really enjoying the work. Since we had plenty of lesson time, JL suggested we try a walk to canter transition to the right.
If you are new here or only visit sporadically, you might not know that we have only been able to get a right lead canter for a few months. Last summer, the only way we cantered to the right was by accident. Up until just recently, a right lead canter consisted of several duck and whirls and a bolt to one side or the other. There might have also been a few bucks and a rear thrown in for good measure.
So when JL suggested we try a walk to canter transition, I was quite happy that she thought we were that far along in our training. You know what happened when I revved up his engine with the parking brake on? He cantered. It wasn't a perfect canter departure, but it was pretty decent. Once he realized what had happened, he did wake up and shoot forward in a quasi-bolt, but I just sat up and rebalanced him. We had a nice hand gallop for a few rounds, and then I brought him back down to a trot, walk, and halt.
Right now, this is all I need of him. Lots of days with plugging along, happy to give it a try. We don't need super light and forward … yet. Quiet and listening is how he will develop confidence in both himself and me.
We're going to another Christian Schacht clinic this weekend. I so hope that he remembers to pack his Captain Awesome suit.