I rode Izzy on Friday morning and then loaded Speedy for the two and a half hour drive to the Ventura area. I let him settle in and have lunch, and then I saddled him up for a lesson with Chemaine.
At the Trot -
As Speedy trotted down the long side tracking right, Chemaine had me do a slight counter bend (bend him left) and leg yield him just a stride or two off the rail. I put him back on a right bend and pushed him back to the rail. Chemaine had me do as many of these mini leg yields as I could before hitting the corner. It was basically left bend away, right bend on, left bend away, right bend on ...
The purpose of the exercise is to get the horse more and more supple and listening to your seat and leg aids. As I get better about weighting my seat bone, Speedy should change the bend in response to my seat and not need so much help from my hands.
To help me get a better change of lead through trot and improve our loop at the canter (with the counter canter section in the middle), Chemaine had me repeat the exercise but at a canter. It took me a few tries to coordinate my aids, but once I figured it out, the exercise was fun and gave me a much better idea of what needs to happen to hold the counter canter and to make the change from one lead to another.
As we cantered down the long side, again on the right lead (we did both), Chemaine had me open the new outside rein, in this case the right, play with the new inside rein to get some bend, and push sideways off the rail. I then straightened Speedy for a stride, opened the new outside rein (now the left), played with the inside rein, and pushed him back to the rail.
When we schooled the change of lead through trot, I was able to (mostly) pull this all together. From C to M, we were on a right lead canter. As we started across the diagonal to K, Chemaine had me think about the work down the long side: I changed from a right bend to a slight left bend, weighted my new outside seat bone for the downward transition to trot, and then leg yielded a tiny bit to the right to push him onto my new outside rein (the right). From there, it was easy to ask for a left lead canter at A.
Day one tomorrow...