I mentioned this already, but Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here for a clinic two weekends ago. Rather than have everyone travel to my barn, which is on the far east side of town, we all met at Amy's house; I was the only one who had to really "travel." While her dressage court is a teensy bit short, it's 20-meters wide and marked with letters. Swoon!
Right now, I really need a court to help me with the serpentines at Second Level. I told Chemaine that the counter canter was my priority for the day. By the way, I had tons of great pictures, but I accidentally deleted them before I downloaded them to my laptop. Grrrr....
Chemaine suggested I do the "fighting" at the walk. She had me visualize touching an electric wire - to do so gives you a zap! Instead of tugging and pulling on Speedy, she had me zap him when he got heavy. When he leaned on me, I gave a quick, sharp snap of the reins to say "no, you can't lean on this. GET OFF!" It worked like a charm!
Most of you know this already, but for those of you who ride the same struggle bus that I do, the more in front of your leg the horse is, the better he can sit into the walk or push off into the canter. To get Speedy thinking forward, we worked on collecting him, but the instant he tried to stutter and lose the canter, I popped him with the whip. That got his hind leg much more active.
The three loop serpentine was next on my list of must conquer. Speedy can hold the counter canter, but I just couldn't get it on the serpentine. Right away Chemaine was able to diagnose the problem; Speedy has the habit of falling on his right shoulder. When tracking right on the right lead, I have to really work that inside rein to get him to let go of it.
I can't believe my attitude toward Second Level has changed so quickly, but I am actually looking forward to this show. I feel like we have a better handle on the movements. We might not score well this time, but I am confident we're on the right track!