- Test 1- Extended gaits; half pass at trot; single flying change.
- Test 2 - Renvers, release of reins at canter, half pass at canter.
- Test 3 - Rein back to trot.
Here's how the exercise went:
On Monday afternoon, Speedy and I had a lesson. There is only one to go before we make our Third Level debut.
I know which movements are required at Third:
With Speedy tacked up and ready go, I dragged him over to a shady spot and quickly pulled up test 2 on my phone. My eyes raced through the movements but jerked to a halt when I read numbers 7 and 8, "K-E shoulder-in right" immediately followed by "E-H renvers left." Huh? I gave an audible uh-oh realizing that I needed to start hooking the movements together PDQ if I had any chance at earning that first 60%.
When Chemaine pulled in, I quickly filled her in on the reason for my sudden panic. I didn't know test 2 and needed some quick help. As I finished my warm up, Chemaine was quick to point out that our trot work had improved over the week and that our shoulder-in had a better angle. As I ride it, I hear her in my head shouting MORE ANGLE! I think it has helped.
While we have a better angle, and we can "do" a renvers (haunches out), I needed help riding them one after the other. Chemaine's advice was this: first, ride the shoulder-in. To develop the renvers, open the inside rein (which becomes the outside rein) to draw the shoulders into the arena. Change the bend, and then keep the haunches on the rail. And all of this happens in just a few strides.
The rest of the lesson was spent schooling the half pass, both at trot and canter, followed by the flying change. Speedy still wants to get charge-y after the change, so Chemaine showed me a new exercise that both gets him to sit and helps him wait for the flying change.
In test 1, there is a medium canter down the entire long side followed by a 10 meter circle at V. The flying change comes between X and R. To keep Speedy balanced, Chemaine had me do a walk-canter-walk transition anyplace I would do a half halt, so between the medium canter and the start of the 10-meter circle, I asked for a simple change but stayed on the same lead. Instead of a flying change, I asked for a simple change. We ran through this pattern a few times in hopes that Speedy would start to memorize the pattern of half halts.
Here's how the exercise went:
Our left to right change is getting pretty reliable. The other way is to still kind of wild and wooly.
We have just over a week to polish everything as much as we can.
But honestly, this horse is so much fun to ride that we'll have fun no matter how many movements I botch. It's a good thing that I have a trainer who embraces the idea that dressage is a long process where horses and riders develop over time.
Right now, Speedy and I are schooling both the half pass and flying change as diligently as possible. Our first show, only CDS-rated, is in less than three weeks. The judging at this show is pretty tough however, and always proves to be a good barometer for how we'll do at a USDF-rated show.
While we're working hard, I am super careful not to over-school the movements. Speedy tries so hard that if I keep asking, he assumes he's making a mistake, and that makes him very grouchy and resentful. The flying changes are now there, but they can still be a bit dramatic. Not this one though, it's a pretty quiet one.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here on Sunday for a lesson. Right from the start I told her that we need to continue cleaning up the lateral movements, namely the half pass, and getting those flying changes a little less ... exuberant.
I have to laugh at myself really. Last year at this time, I was dreading the show season. The move to Second Level simply terrified me. While I would stack my horsemanship skills up against anyone else's without feeling a moment of doubt, my dressage skills are still in the development stage. I can ride a horse a hundred miles, but 40-meters of medium trot in front of a judge turns my legs to jelly.
We made it through Second Level with decent scores though, even winning some honors along the way, but all season long I felt certain that someone was going to get wise to my subterfuge and point it out to the rest of the world. Even after working hard on it, I still feel like a bit of a hack.
This year? I can't wait to get in the show ring. We're probably going to lay down some questionable tests that will likely earn us some scores in the 50% range, but I am totally fine with that. I know that if I continue to work hard, Speedy and I will get those two scores we need to earn our bronze. With such a simple goal, the season seems more than manageable.
Instead of focusing on THIRD LEVEL - insert ominous tone, I've been breaking the three tests down into manageable chunks. For test 1, all we need to add is a more energetic shoulder in, a short half pass in trot, the flying changes, and a bigger medium trot. Right now, it's all there. It might not be fabulous, but it doesn't have to be. We only need to be satisfactory. Can I get an amen for mediocrity?
For test 2, we need to maintain everything from test 1 while making it better. We also need to add in a bit of renvers and show a clear release of both reins for 4-5 strides over centerline. That may or may not happen for our first show. By late in the season, it'll be automatic.
Since not getting overwhelmed is my strategy for the year, I haven't paid much attention to test 3 (yet). On Sunday, we did school the canter half pass to centerline to the half circle. For a horse that anticipates the flying change - looking at YOU, Speedy!, this series of movements is likely to be a bugger. I am honestly not worried though. Speedy and I haven't taken any shortcuts through the levels, so the foundation is there. And every week, we get better and better.
My homework for the week is to work on Speedy's lateral suppleness by doing extreme leg yields across the entire diagonal. I am to follow those with half passes that also cross the diagonal. Making them as steep as I can get them will serve us well when we have to do them from the centerline to the rail. They'll seem practically "easy" then.
Chemaine also showed me an exercise to help with the canter half pass. In it, I am to ride a circle where the shoulders transcribes a smaller circle than the haunches, and then the haunches will transcribe an even smaller circle than the shoulders. She called it a waterfall: first the shoulders, then the haunches all the while "falling" in on the circle to make it ever smaller.
I am constantly amazed at how hard Speedy will work for me. He wasn't bred for dressage. He doesn't have a naturally uphill balance. He's just a nicely put together Arabian gelding who was bred to be able to do whatever his rider asks, and if she says please, he usually gives it to her.
That doesn't mean he'll do it opinion free though. I've learned to ask and then hold on!
I wonder how many horses don't learn to do the flying change until they're 15? Speedy knows how to change his canter leads; I've seen him do it a million times during turn out. They're beautiful. Doing them when and where I ask is an entirely different conversation. As difficult as they are, Speedy is working his heart out to do them for me. Bless him.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, came out for a lesson on Good Friday. Frankly, I need all the help I can get, so if we get a little extra help from the Divine on a day meant to be holy, I'll take it.
My goal for the lesson was to check in on our new and improved shoulder in and to continue cleaning up our flying changes. Chemaine seemed pretty pleased with our trot work, both at the shoulder in and the medium.
When Chemaine was here last, she had me use the idea of a medium trot while doing a shoulder in. For the life of me, I just couldn't figure out what she wanted me to do. After watching video of the lesson, I did a palm to face and shook my head at my idiocy. She wanted me to use the energy reserved for the medium trot during a shoulder in. What's so confusing about that? Apparently a lot if you're me.
For a medium trot, Chemaine has taught me to use the corner to rev Speedy up and build energy in his hind end by applying the brakes (half halt) while at the same time pressing on the gas (adding leg). Once we come out of the corner, I straighten him up so that when he finally gets to use that coiled up energy, he can lift his front end just like a plane taking off.
So how does this work to improve the shoulder in? Chemaine had me set it up exactly the same. From A to K, or whichever corner you're in, build the energy by half halting while adding leg at the same time. From K to V start thinking about shoulder fore so that by V you can put your horse into a shoulder in.
Unlike the medium trot, the horse doesn't get to launch forward though. Instead, Chemaine had me slowly release the energy into the shoulder in by pulsing the rein. If you let all of the energy go at once, you'll lose the angle of the bend. Instead, let it out in short spurts.
Speedy has learned the aids for the medium trot so well that I can now use them to improve his collected trot even while not in the corner. He knows that a "revving up" half halt means that we're getting ready to GO, like in the second picture above. Transitions within the gait, right?!
And then we moved on to the flying change. Speedy has it, he's just still quite sassy about it. The main problem we have is the right rein and right shoulder.
The right to left flying change is much easier because Speedy naturally wants to lean on my right rein. The other way? Let the sparks fly!
Lest you think he's just beyond incorrigible, these are only blips in time. He really just wants to do it right, but he thinks he knows better than I do what's "right." Silly boy.
Right now, the process goes like this:
We have a flying change. What we don't have is an obedient and relaxed flying change. We're almost there though.
I've learned that with this horse, being patient and persistent will pay off.
He makes my heart sing.
I have two bits of homework to work on with Speedy: more push from behind in the lateral movements and pushing his hind end over for the flying change. Right now, it's all about Speedy's butt.
Last week - I am really behind in sharing this, Speedy got to have a lesson, our first in several months. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, came down on Sunday. My plan for the lesson was to work on the elements in Third Level Test 1. After watching a boatload of videos, I've concluded that if you have a flying change, 3-1 is much easier than 2-3.
We ultimately worked on two exercises. The first one was designed to improve our scores at the shoulder in (and as a result, the trot half pass). While Speedy generally gets 6s and 7s on his gaits, he's not a big, bold mover like many of the warmbloods. Anything I can do to get him moving bigger with more power coming from behind will only improve our scores.
For the medium trot, Chemaine has taught me to use the corner to "rev" him up. As I straighten Speedy for the medium trot across the diagonal, I can then let him "go." The stored up energy launches us forward. Chemaine wants me to use that same idea for the shoulder in.
The process is still the same: rev him up in the corner. As we approach the second letter (whichever one it is), I need to bend him and start the shoulder in. But rather than let him fly across the diagonal like I would for the medium trot, I'll release that stored up energy by directing his hind end to push stronger and deeper under his body. This will encourage Speedy to carry more weight behind so that he can free up his shoulders for a better shoulder in.
In theory, anyway. It sounds a lot easier than it was. When I "let him go" the first time, Speedy tried to veer off across the diagonal. That's when I discovered my steering needed some work.
The second exercise was for calming down the flying change of lead so that we get less of this.
I've found that Speedy needs a lot of reminding that he can't brace in the change. To address that, I do a lot of bending and counter bending on a circle. This has helped him learn that changing the bend is not the cue for the flying change.
Now that he's more comfortable changing the bend, Chemaine had me work on better positioning his hind end. As we prepared for the flying change across the diagonal, she had me change the bend and then leg yield with the outside leg. Then I asked for a walk followed by a simple change of lead from the walk.
The first time I did it, Speedy's ears flicked quite dramatically. He did the exercise well, but he was working hard to put it all together. The leg yield served to position his hind end, and the walk steps were a big half halt. When he was more willing to walk (wait!) for the cue for the flying change, I was able to skip the walk steps.
I've left the flying change alone for the past few rides to give him time to process what he learned. Instead, I've focused on getting a more powerful, uphill trot for the shoulder in. For our next ride (hopefully this morning), we'll tackle the flying change again.
Speedy's a hard worker, and incidentally, so am I. We'll have the flying change down pat before I know it. I hope.
Izzy's been a tough nut to crack; we all know this. One minute he can be offering flying changes, a lovely uphill canter, or even a trot half pass.
In the very next minute, he can't make a left hand turn without ripping off my arms and nearly bashing me in the face.
With Speedy being so intent on injuring every part of his body, I decided that Izzy has got to start earning his keep. When Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, pulled into the ranch for Sunday's lesson, I let her know that Izzy needs to step up his game.
We discussed what he can do: half pass - sort of, flying changes when I ask - sometimes, walk to canter to walk - also sometimes, stretchy trot circle - actually better than Speedy ever did, a decent trot to canter transition, counter canter, and he's sometimes straight. Give all of that a good shake, and then roll the dice to see what turns up. We decided to call him a First Level horse - in training. It's been more than a year since I've ridden a First Level test, so Chemaine had to remind me what we'll need to work on.
Now that I can get Izzy in front of my leg - most of the time, it's time to start playing around with adjusting his stride. That's where we started. Chemaine had me do a bunch of transitions within the gait. Nothing wild or crazily new in that concept, unless you're a big brown horse who hasn't been able to lengthen his stride at all. I think Chemaine was a bit surprised at how easily he offered a longer stride.
And then since I can, one more of that baby lengthening of stride.
We also played around with the leg yield. Since Izzy moves laterally so easily, unlike the Speedy pony, it's more about keeping all of his parts in line without letting the shoulders lead too much while leaving the haunches behind.
The biggest First Level movement we'll have trouble with is the canter to trot transition at X, and later, the canter to trot to canter transition at X. Damn X anyway. Once Izzy starts cantering, he just can't stop. Especially if we cross the diagonal. All he sees is more real estate to cover. And in his opinion, the faster the better.
According to Izzy, trotting in the middle of a good long run seems like a dumb idea. He would much rather keep on cantering and turn it into a counter canter; that he understands. In fact, once this horse canters, it's really hard to get him to stop.
As much as I'd love to just write my own test - A enter cantering, X continue to canter, C track left still cantering, E canter left 20 meters, K-A-F canter, F-X-H change rein, C counter canter ... USEF won't let me. So for now, Izzy has to learn to do that transition without me needing to haul back on the reins to half halt his freight train of a canter.
Always one to think on her feet, Chemaine offered two different tools to keep Izzy on my aids. The first was to think shoulder fore as we canter through the corner, heading for X. This will keep him on my outside rein as I ask for the transition to trot.
When that doesn't work, and you knew it wouldn't be that easy, Chemaine said, "If he falls off your outside rein right away, canter a 10-meter circle." And the beauty of that exercise is that there are a lot of 10-meter circles as you cross the diagonal.
Eventually, we got a few good canter to trot transitions across the diagonal. I love having a plan, so focusing on the movements at First Level with an eye to finally, finally getting this horse into a show ring only increases my motivation.
Here's a short video of that exercise.
One of the things that I love most about Chemaine is that she is never out of ideas. She works the horse and rider that show up for that day's lesson. It's a good thing because next week, Izzy might show up acting more like an Intro Level horse!
On Sunday, Izzy and I had a particulalry good lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. That isn't to say that I don't always get good lessons, because I do. Sometimes though, an important piece of the puzzle will fall into place. And when that happens, a bigger picture starts to show through.
The biggest AHAs! that I had during this lesson were about bracing with my arms - how not to do it, and feeling Izzy's hind legs when they're NOT stepping under.
During our last lesson, Izzy finally showed us that he can handle a lot more leg. The problem with pushing him to get his hind end in the game is that he gets super heavy in front. Yah! for the added impulsion, boo hiss for the 120 pounds that he's making me carry in my arms.
When I mentioned to Chemaine that I've been bracing against Izzy's bracing, she suggested I resist with the outside hand but flex with my inside hand all while still adding leg. LEG is our new word of the month.
It was like I suddenly learned how to ride. You mean bracing doesn't work? I kid you not, just hearing that I could "brace" with ONE hand, but move the bit around with the other, gave me a completely different feel. He didn't magically get soft and light or anything, but the whole dynamic changed for the better.
What ended up happening was that when I quit holding up his front end and added leg, the argument was with my leg instead of my hand. Horses don't (usually) spook or balk when they're in front of your leg. So, every single time he spooked and or came above the bit, I added leg. And not just a gentle hug either; I whacked him in the sides. And when he squealed, I whacked him with my legs again. We did a lot of cantering.
Once he was finally in front of my leg, we got to work. And when I say work, I mean we finally started doing some dressage work. Chemaine showed me a great shoulder in exercise that helped me feel when he wasn't driving with his hind end.
We started with a shoulder in, but Chemaine had me focus more on his hind end and not so much on what was happening to the shoulder in. She explained it like this: my rein aide tells him where to go while my seat and legs tell him to push us forward in that direction. I am usually so worried about getting the correct shoulder angle that I forget about the hind end and suddenly it's hanging way back there where we started.
After a shoulder in down the long side, Chemaine had me use the short side to straighten and regroup and push him forward. Instead of coming down the next long side, I crossed the diagonal, still in shoulder in. By focusing on a point in the distance - I don't have letters, I could see where I was losing him. As we approached the rail, I changed the bend and leg yielded to the rail. That's where Izzy gave me the most resistance - changing the bend.
We repeated the exercise over and over, occasionally jumping into a canter when Izzy "spooked" or got distracted. The most wonderful thing started to happen though. For the first time ever, I felt really plugged into the saddle with my seat bones asking for a longer stride or a shorter stride. He was finally loose enough in the back to give me a place to sit. I actually felt like a dressage rider.
I am loving every minute of this version of the big brown horse. We are definitely not-so-speedy dressage, but given enough time, we WILL get the job done!
More than one person has suggested that I move Izzy on to somewhere else. Someplace far, far away. It's been four years, and he's still not any closer to a show ring than he was back then. I get it; he's not everyone's flavor, and sometimes even I get sick of his shenanigans. But then I get a few moments of this.
Of course, this took 30 minutes to achieve and only after about a million half halts followed by a good hand gallop. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, has been infinitely patient and creative with team Izzy a Complete Lunatic? She shows up every time ready to school whichever horse I've got that day. Usually it's a horse with a very short attention span jacked up on Mountain Dew.
Sunday was no exception. Izzy was tense and spooky and generally just refusing to focus and do what was asked. The interesting thing was that Chemaine had watched him on the lunge line while he trotted around in a perfect circle never spooking once. I think it's the first time she'd seen him lunged. It gave her some ideas about how to deal with the spooking under saddle.
Since I had some cavalletti poles set up, Chemaine had me work on shortening and lengthening his stride over the poles. We also had a lot puddles that we used for the same idea. The purpose was to collect his stride, forcing him to step up and over - sort of like a manual half halt. The puddles and poles also forced him to keep an eye on where he was going. He hates stepping on the poles.
Collecting and lengthening one's stride will only get you so far though. The photo above illustrates that. I know it's long and it's not exciting, but Chemaine shot some video of that part of the lesson. Essentially, it was lengthen his stride, shorten his stride, repeat, repeat, repeat.
After this part of the video, we moved on to deal with his jackassery. He was quiet and listening on the lunge line, but somewhere during the first 15 minutes of the lesson, he decided that the far end of the arena was a very spooky place to be. And then he proceeded to do everything possible to avoid heading that direction.
Chemaine's advice was to over ride him. I know that sounds weird, but I knew exactly what she meant. I pushed his butt forward, and every time he got balky, silly, or heavy, I pushed him to a bigger stride. Pretty soon we were hustling around that arena. With poles here and there and big puddles scattered around, Izzy suddenly found himself needing to redirect his attention stat.
As we zoomed around, Chemaine encouraged me to be louder and more obnoxious with my aids in an effort to be more distracting than the distractions. In the past, I wasn't able to be so loud with my aids because that was a sure way to get a melt down. But as Izzy gets more educated, he is able to keep it together - mostly. And when he's truly in front of my leg, he can handle a lot more pressure because he's thinking forward.
Eventually, I bumped it up to a canter and let him get it all out. With my night classes, heavy rain, and needing to bandage Speedy, he hadn't been ridden in more than a week, so I was pleased with how much he let me try to put him together. In the next video, we've just finished a good hand gallop, but you can see that his back is looser and he's offering a more energetic stride.
This horse will never be a finished show horse, and he'll never be easy to ride, but if you can hang on, you can get some really good moments from him that are fun to ride.
Yeah. kind of like that.
On Sunday, I had another lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. It was one of those lessons where mini explosions kept going off in my head. Every word she uttered created an epiphany. By the end of the lesson, I felt as though I had never really heard anything before. How could I not have known these things? It was weird, but in a very, very good way.
Like I mentioned a few days ago, I wanted to challenge Izzy which meant challenging myself as well, so I asked to school flying changes. I had already warmed him up, and like most days, he wasn't even close to working over his back and his neck/poll/jaw were locked up tight. We didn't "care;" Chemaine and I have both learned that Izzy gets better the harder he works.
The biggest Really? that I got out of this lesson was that Izzy can counter counter with a counter bend. And not only can he, but he needs to to do the flying change; Speedy too, for that matter.
To prepare him for the change, Chemaine had us pick up the counter counter while on a circle. As an aside here, I am so proud of Izzy (and myself for that matter) that the canter aid is so well built in that we can even do that. We've got some skills.
Of course, none of my skills are perfect, so Chemaine had to adjust my seat. Because it helps a whole lot (not - don't try this at home), I was throwing my upper body towards the lead I wanted him to pick up which in this case was the right. As soon as Chemaine pointed it out and suggested that instead I push my seat in the direction of the lead I wanted, Izzy picked up the counter canter immediately and very gracefully. It sort of helps when your rider isn't a wiggly monkey on your back.
Once we had that straightened out, Chemaine encouraged me to work with the bend. Counter cantering on the right lead means the horse's neck is bent to the right, or the outside of the circle. She wanted me to get him bent to the left, the inside of the circle. Let me just say that being on a counter canter circle is already enough to challenge your brain as you adjust your aids. Counter flexing while on counter canter was causing some short circuiting in my head.
We didn't just change the bend immediately though. Izzy would have crashed to the ground. Instead, Chemaine had me simply straighten the new "outside" of his body, the side on the outside of the circle. She had me think of that 4x4 exercise from the week before: 4 strides true bend, 4 strides straighten, 4 strides true bend, 4 strides straighten. And then I took it from straighten to counter bend, straighten to counter bend.
Once Izzy could cary the counter canter with a counter bend, he was set up for the flying change. BUT, Chemaine cautioned me not to rush it. Before asking for the change, she had me get him so "heavy" on the new outside rein that he had nowhere else to go. That's the time to ask for the flying change.
I'd like to say it happened the first time, but of course it didn't. It did happen though, and I was even able to get it last night when I rode. In BOTH directions no less. On a freezing cold evening. Under conditions that Izzy loathes. Like I said, SKILLS.
The video is a bit long, but you can hear Chemaine really well. Plus, you get to see how hard Izzy can be to ride. You can laugh; it's okay.
It's not often that I get a lesson two weeks in a row, but last week I did. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables was able to come for a lesson on Friday afternoon. And since Speedy is still in recovery mode, Izzy was called up again.
It was a perfectly horrible day for a lesson. The wind was howling as it scattered leaves across the arena, and the trees were snapping and crackling. Even I didn't really want to ride. Funky, crappy weather is just what Izzy needs though. He loves warm mellow sunshine and is always easy to ride on those days. I was delighted to have a lesson with such distracting conditions.
Not only was the weather funky, but I hadn't even ridden Izzy since the last lesson five days prior. He warmed up like you'd expect. His back was tight and he was flinching at every odd sound.
Since we'd worked on getting him more "through" the week before, I insisted that he come up to the bit by adding a boatload of leg. Since he was already in flight mode, Chemaine had me take advantage of that energy and direct it forward.
Even just six months ago, adding so much leg would have caused Izzy to have a meltdown. He's grown up some over the past year though and handled it like a pro. No matter what he did, Chemaine insisted that I keep leg on, especially when he spooked or got balky. She also had me drive him forward with my seat. The whole purpose was to get his hind legs stepping further underneath him.
Like the lesson before this one, it was boring. We stayed on the 20-meter circle, and sometimes smaller, just insisting that he lift his back and push with his hind end. Focusing solely on the quality of his gait rather than on any particular movement gave me a new feel.
Quite often I ride Izzy with a lighter seat as I coast along. Focusing on driving him with my seat gave me a connected feeling that I really haven't experienced before. When I hopped up on him the next day, I kept those two things in mind: add leg to push him up to the bridle, and drive him forward with my seat.
As a team, Izzy and I are not taking a liner path up the levels. We might do a canter half pass one day but then struggle with a stretchy trot the next. As complicated as he is to ride, I sure do dig my big brown horse.
Now if only the weather would cooperate.
With Speedy temporarily on the disabled list, Izzy's been getting some really good work done. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here a week or so ago for a Sunday afternoon lesson.
As we trotted around Chemaine on an endless 20-meter circle, I complained about being stuck in the same place that we were three years ago. It simply doesn't feel as though we're progressing. Not one to offer false compliments or underserved praise, Chemaine pointed out that yes, we're still having the same arguments, but at a different level. I think that made me feel better.
With that in mind, we spent a good portion of the lesson micromanaging every step Izzy took. Every time he bobbled his head or popped it up, I resisted with the rein and added leg. And if he didn't soften, I kept my leg on. When we were finished, I exclaimed that that lesson was probably the most boring lesson of all time to give. All Chemaine got to say was yes, yes, kick him, harder, more leg, yes, yes, kick him.
Now that I have more control over his shoulders and haunches, it's time to start pushing him up to the bridle. And since he's become somewhat more educated, he no longer has a meltdown when he's "packaged up." Well not as frequently anyway. I think he does it sometimes just to see if I am paying attention.
The last thing we worked on was a bit of canter half pass. One thing I've discovered about Izzy is that I am more likely to get a better connection if he has to really think about what he's doing. Too many 20-meter circles allow him time to get bored. Chemaine agreed. She encouraged me to keep working on movements from Second and Third Level even though he might not be "through" or connected at the start of the movement. Sometimes the connection will come during the movement.
And then, because the universe owes me something, we had another lesson on Friday. More to come.