Rogo's little holiday and 'starter' hack out seems to have done him a world of good. Today Doug and I warmed up he and Savanah, then took them out in the field adjacent to their pasture and walked around. This was completely new territory for Rogo. He was quite snorty and happy, seemed to think he should be able to stop and eat grass a couple of times, but generally very good. He walked smartly along, no needing to be pushed (except when he wanted the grass of course). We did a loop around, then came back into the riding ring and did a little ring work.
I tried to lengthen and shorten his canter stride for the first time and he did it! I read in Hilda Gurney's article in my most recent Dressage Today that going back to a shorter stride canter after the lengthening is one of the most difficult moves for horses starting to school level 1, so I thought I might as well give it a try and get started now since his canter has been good lately. He did it the very first ask. He is really following my rhythm now. We did it three times, and I'd say he did it well (for a first time) 2 out of 3. I need to get better at my aids too. In capturing the energy to come back to a shorter stride I was a little too abrupt, but he held the canter and followed the rhythm. What a good boy!
To do it I picked up the canter going into a long side, cantered down the long side pushing him forward, legs into hands, and then as we approached the short side I kept the same rhythm and shortened my aids. He got it. Yippee!
I also asked for a canter from a walk twice and both times he took one or two trot steps and then cantered. His impulsion was definitely improved from the time off and getting out of the riding ring.
I also tried a little walking leg yield and for the first time ever he really 'got' it, yielding to the right. He walked along, stepping over front and back. Doug was watching and was really impressed. Yielding left wasn't so good. He got a few steps out of several tries, but my aids aren't as consistent and clear to the left, so I need to practice on my own.All in all a great morning ride.