I am preparing for a lesson next week so have been making an effort to keep my butt in the saddle this week. I was really impressed with the improvement in the App's dressage during the last lesson so that is what I wanted to concentrate on for this lesson. Per the suggestion of the instructor I have been riding with the "legs off" approach where instead of nagging to death (previous instructor's method of go) I simply ask once and the App gets a swift smack if he doesn't respond (my old way of going and current instructors way of going). It seems to be working quite well actually, the App is much more responsive of my leg and is engaging his hind end in a much shorter time frame than before. 20 mins versus 45? I will take that! I am super curious how things will go once I start asking for real collection, that usually results in a super sllllooooowww App that requires both spurs and a whip to keep going.
I have ridden every night this week and am quite pleased with our rides! I start with long and low walking and progress to some connected walking and then trot. In the trot I am working on responsiveness and getting him to go forward, forward, forward (reminds me of Rogo's posts lol). He has been being sticky in the change of bend until the last quarter of the ride. Thanks to the new instructor's idea, when he fights my change of bend I make a shorter inside rein and brace against the saddle, pushing him forward until he stops pulling and engages his hind end. Once I have that I pick up my hands again and push forward and voila! How the heck have I ridden dressage all of these years and not had this trick?!? I am also using this for when the App feels it is quite appropriate to scream for the TWH, shorten the inside rein and kick, kick, kick to get him forward and once he gives I keep him collected for at least 3 laps. The last ride he only cried for the TWH twice. I guess that is an improvement even though he used to not have this issue grrrr.
This weekend I am hoping to try ponying a horse to get them accustomed to it, I would like to bring some kids on a "trail ride" but since no one is of adequate skill yet this will ensure safety. Am really looking forward to my lesson though, it is good to be back in the saddle.