That boy was hot-to-trot, fired up, and rearin' to go. He was so excited that I ditched the hurry it up stick, also known as the dressage whip, long before the lesson even started. This enthusiasm turned out to be a pleasant gift since Wednesday was the day to tackle steady contact. And since Speedy G's trick is to suck back and get behind the bit, forward energy was to be part of the solution.
To encourage Speedy G to accept the contact, JL had me add leg, leg, leg whenever he came behind the bit. Of course that came with some over-reaction where he would think, oh, go faster!, and out his nose would pop. I was ready for him though and as soon as he tried that, I added a shoulder blade squeeze to go with the leg squeeze. It became a game of squeeze him forward, slow him down. Oops! Sucking back ... Squeeze forward ... Racing off in the front end ... wait a minute, get back here.
It took a bit of work, but eventually Speedy G shook hands with steady contact. He was happier to dance with steady contact to the left, but not so jiggy with it to the right. To the right required a re-visit to the land of GET OFF MY INSIDE LEG! After some time there, he was more than happy to do a bigger, rounder circle. And later, he was even more willing to dance with his new pal, steady contact, when we returned to the left. And even more surprising still was that he performed two canter transitions without any bucking or kicking. JL was quite impressed with that little nugget of improvement.
At last week's lesson, JL and I focused on getting Sydney to soften by asking him to come from in front of the bit to a more vertical position. This week's lesson focused on getting Speedy G to move up to the contact. I have one pony in front of the bit and a second pony behind the bit. Talk about learning the whole spectrum! At some point, I might just become a damn fine rider.
I am loving Wednesdays!