The good thing about working on the change of lead is that it addresses a ton of other movements:
- The canter lengthening - He gets just as heavy in the lengthening as he does when crossing the diagonal. Whether I am asking for a downward transition to trot or a return to working canter, I have to get him listening to that outside rein. Working on the change of lead will help both.
- The canter departure - I am doing TONS of them so that I can do downward transitions. All of these transitions are just making his canter departures better and better.
- Working trot - the more I school the canter transitions, the better his trot work is getting. He's figuring out that he needs to step deeply with his hind legs in order to lift up into a canter.
- The counter canter - the change of lead through trot comes after the counter canter, so I am doing one or two of those most every ride. He's getting nicely balanced to the left, but the counter canter on the right lead needs some work.
When I rode on Monday, I had to use a lot of spur and bounce him pretty hard off the left rein, but it worked. He gave me some of the best changes of lead through trot that he has done. So often I blame myself when Speedy doesn't get it. In this case, it's still my fault, but only because I need to be really firm in my expectations.
When I let him lean on me, he can't balance himself enough to get a good trot transition. And when he "falls" into the trot, he can't get under himself to pick up the new lead smoothly. I love that I am "feeling" all of this because now I can help him to fix it.
We have a two-day USDF show in a week and a half. I don't think we'll have this test 3 mastered by then, but I am feeling pretty good about it.