It wasn't until I started processing all of the video clips from the lesson that I realized she wasn't trying to help me fix one movement or another, but instead, she was giving me suppling exercises that will improve almost every movement.
This is an easy walk exercise that is great to use in the early stages of the warm up. Walk in a 15-meter circle. It's an easier exercise to do if you can see the tracks of your first circle. Now, send the haunches outside of the circle as you walk around. Basically, you'll be doing a turn on the forehand as you walk forward. The exercise encourages the inside hind to step deeply.
This is also a good one to use while warming up. The idea is to compress the stride, ask the horse to soften to the inside rein, and then lengthen. I've shared this exercise before. To make the exercise even more effective, Chemaine made two suggestions. First, think about building the tempo. If you start at a 5, compress to a 3 and then lengthen to a 6. Compress to a 4 and lengthen to a 7. In other words, we can't expect a big grand lengthening right out of the box. Give the horse time to become supple and loose. The flip side of that is don't get stuck at the same tempo.
The second suggestion she made was to count the strides. If you start at 10 strides of compression followed by 10 strides of lengthening, gradually reduce the number of the compressed strides so that they become a half halt.
For anyone struggling with shoulder in, this exercise will help immensely. Speedy has a very "bendy" neck, which makes a lot of dressage work challenging because he can fake it like nobody's business.
For the shoulder in, I was getting all kinds of bend, but he wasn't stepping under and through to the outside rein, which is not entirely his fault. Chemaine pointed out that I need to be firmer with the outside rein and really use my own aids to push him over to the outside, supporting rein.
This is a very tough suppling exercise, and one that Chemaine recommended I do no more than twice a week. She said that while it is a great stretching exercise, it's really easy to over do it. The result will be a sore horse!
Start on a 20--meter circle with a shoulder in. The purpose is to bring the shoulders in one meter at a time as you ultimately spiral in. At the same time, you will also do a haunches in, but they should come two meters off the circle. Don't maintain the haunches in. Return to a shoulder in, slowly spiraling in. Do another haunches in, return to shoulder in. Eventually, the circle will be so small that the horse will be in a shoulder in and haunches in. Now spiral out in a leg yield, but think lengthen at the same time.
Tomorrow ... the work we did with green bean Izzy!