Sunday, the final day of the break, proved to be the most successful riding day. I started with Sydney as he is the most "work" and the least "fun." I had been thinking about our most recent lesson with JL and was trying to work out how to incorporate all of our new learning.
We started out with some walking in a frame and moved on to the up, up down trot exercise, which is mostly for my benefit, but it does get Sydney moving a bit more freely through his back. Without giving him time to think about it, I cued for a right lead canter and got it with no fuss. This isn't the minor success as he does that all the time. It's the later canter departures that are the real bear.
We did a little more walking, just to change the conversation a bit, and then I put him back to work, again tracking right. I shortened my inside rein and focused on moving him sideways. And then I simply sat and squeezed for a right lead canter. I kept a very steady connection on both reins, and squeezed harder. Sydney finally lurched into a right lead canter without his customary duck and whirl. It wasn't beautiful, but we were both trying really hard.
I asked for several transitions from trot to canter to trot to canter and was pleased that he was able to canter each time. I think we may finally be on to something here. This was the first of the minor successes.
I then saddle Speedy G for his fifth ride in a row. I knew I needed to try something very different or he was going to be very pissy about still more work. I decided to work on some leg yielding as I've kind of been avoiding that particular exercise. Leg yielding is hard for Speedy G which makes it less fun than the counter canter loops.
RIght away I knew I had a problem. Speedy was completely ignoring my left leg (and spur), which is a crucial tool for the leg yield right. Rather than kick and prod, I hopped off and retrieved my whip. As I turned him around in the barn aisle, I tapped his flank with the whip and got a "yes ma'am" about-face.
As soon as I hopped back on, Speedy was much more forward and attentive. We did leg yield right at the walk with me tapping right behind my leg each time he stepped too slowly. When I knew I had his attention, I let the whip fall to the ground and picked up the trot. We came down the long side to A, made a left turn and leg yielded right all the way across the arena to M. We took a short walk break and repeated the leg yield but this time to the left. He gave me two leg yields that were finally show worthy, maybe not 8s, but definitely acceptable.
Two minor successes in one day is a great way to finish a weekend aimed at expressing our thankfulness. Thank you, ponies; you're both awesome!