By the time we got to JL's, Speedy was pretty dry, but he handles the heat much better than any other horse I've had. Our lesson was just more of what we started last week, but with the work I did with Chemaine and Christian, the concept JL was teaching got more and more clear.
For the first time, I really felt what it's like to ride him from the inside leg to the outside hand. By shifting my weight to the inside leg, I was no longer fighting for an inside bend, and I was able to use my outside rein to keep him from curling under to evade the contact. JL didn't have a lot to say other than I was riding really well.
Over this past week, I finally internalized that I don't need the inside rein to turn. To really help me build some muscle memory, JL had me ride a 20-meter circle for quite a while. There are several spots on that circle that Speedy thinks are downhill - he thinks he needs to speed up. All I did was focus on pushing him sideways with my inside leg, without pulling on the inside rein, and correcting his drifting shoulder with my outside rein and leg. The inside rein just hung out.
After a few minutes on that 20-meter circle, I realized that all I was doing was riding from my inside leg to my outside hand. Deep sigh of relief.
To test my control, JL had me ride a larger circle with a longer stride. This challenged us a bit, but JL reminded me I can always slow his front end down to increase his sideways movement. Before long, I was able to feel when he was going to drop the connection by curling under. A bit of leg and a half halt with the outside rein got him back "up" with his hind end moving.
I am really looking forward to our next show, which has changed. I was going to ride at El Sueno agin, but the July 13/14 show got cancelled. Instead, I sent in an entry for the San Luis Obispo show that same weekend. I am disappointed though as the El Sueno event was a two-day, USDF show while the SLO show is only a one-day, CDS (and DASC) rated show. Ah well ... I guess I saved myself a little money.
I ride Sydney tomorrow at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center Schooling show. We're still doing Intro C and Training Level Test 1, but I'm feeling pretty good about. Our first ride is at 9:13 and the second is at 9:48 which means I need to pull out of the barn by 5:30 a.m. to make the 2 hour (plus) drive and still have some time to tack up and warm up.
Best of luck to those of you showing today or tomorrow. See you on Monday!