I took that new feeling with me to Monday's lesson although I wasn't sure either horse would be rested enough for another heavy work day. Speedy looked willing, but he also looked a little tired. Sydney on the other hand didn't look as though he'd done a thing. I grabbed his halter and tacked up.
I was thrilled at his condition, at both of their conditions actually. Neither horse had any filling in his legs, and both had toplines that were free of any tender spots. Speedy needs to lose a few pounds, but he looked as plump as he had on Sunday morning. Sydney had definitely lost a little weight at his flanks, but with having most of this week off, I am sure he'll be back to normal by the weekend.
Both horses were quite dirty, especially Sydney; he had been too wet when we finished on Sunday to even try to scrape off the trail dust. It took a while to pick the matted dirt out of his coat, but by the time I walked over to JL's, he was his regular shiny self.
Tracking left, the most he needs is a half halt to maintain the rhythm. To the right, he needs regular corrections to maintain the bend. As I get quicker and quicker at catching him as he even thinks about taking away the inside bend, the less he tries it.
We worked on maintaining an inside bend while tracking right at the trot, but then it was on to the canter work. He fussed a little here and there, but I am able to shut him so down so much quicker now (at least in the arena) that he doesn't get too far. JL had me canter a pretty small circle which is the same exercise we do at the trot. The point to the smaller circle is to almost over exaggerate the inside bend while really pushing his haunches out in sideways motion.
A few rounds of that kind of intense work was about the max that Sydney could do. It turns out that Sydney was more tired than he had first thought. Any sassy thoughts were long gone once I put him in that 15-meter canter circle.
I haven't decided where I'll go from here with him. We're certainly not giving up the dressage instruction; he really needs that, but I also can't just go fox hunting every weekend either. For now, we're still going to the Christian Schacht Clinic in a few weeks. I am just going to wait and see what the new year brings.