Now that I am committed to working with Chemaine once a month, I feel like Speedy and I are making faster progress. I can't even imagine how totally kick butt we'd be if I could ride with her every week!
For this lesson, my main goal was to work on the leg yields. I know I'm losing Speedy's outside shoulder, especially to the left, but I was also struggling with knowing whether the inside hind was truly stepping under or not.
When I kept the left outside rein steady and low, I could at least get Speedy to step under and over with the inside hind leg. And when he continued to be a brat, she had me finish out the leg yield at a walk. The purpose was to show him that he could step under with that inside leg. Chemaine said it was non-negotiable. I like thinking of it that way as it means that I am not asking for too much. Speedy simply has to do this.
When I got the left shoulder straighter, he threw a little hissy fit which involved kicking out, small rears, and stamping his little front feet NO. Fortunately, I've had him so long that nothing he does is in any way scary. I just laughed at him and gave him a bit of a spur.
We never got it perfect, but I've since watched the video of me schooling that leg yield, and I can at least see what I need to do. Keeping that shoulder straighter without letting him bulge out to the left will help a lot.
Before I work on the trot lengthenings, I do a series of three, 10-meter circles down the long side. I then half halt in the first corner, use the short side to regroup a little, and then half halt and straighten as I come out of the second corner. After all of that collected work, Speedy is usually thrilled to lengthen his stride across the diagonal.
To add shoulder in to the exercise, Chemaine had me keep the bend of the 10-meter circles along the long side and just when we started to lose it, I put him back in a 10-meter circle. As we finished the next 10-meter circle, I maintained the bend and pushed him down the long side again. In this way, Speedy only had to hold the shoulder in for a few strides before he was doing another 10-meter circle.
The added benefit of this exercise is that when he drifted off the rail, I could leg yield him back without him thinking that it was a leg yield. Win-win!
Tomorrow, my first lesson on Izzy.