I had a really good lesson with Cheryl this morning. She told me at a few points that it's the best I've ridden. I didn't feel I was riding well, but it's nice to hear. I feel like it's much easier to ride better now, because Rogo is responding much better. She says he's responding better because I'm riding better. Chicken and egg! Probably a little of each.
Rogo was nicely forward today - a welcome change from a little too laid back of late.
We worked on contact, which is our #1 goal right now. He is really improving, at least he was today and I think he is over-all. Still a long way to go, but he is really staying with it for longer periods of time. I bend to the inside for a transition or when he starts putting his head out and he comes back to his connection and starts pushing from behind more. It's wonderful to feel when he gets it. The pushing is so much stronger and then of course the gaits get better and over-all things feel and go better.
He isn't moving off my right leg as well as he should, so that's something to work on. Also, when we pause for a break he loses his 'forward' very quickly. This happened at the last show too. Between the warm up where he was forward and 'on', to waiting 'on deck', he went to sleep! I couldn't get him going again - yikes! So that's another area for improvement - keeping motivation through brief rest periods. Not a big deal at this point for sure and not something I'll worry about. It's nice that he settles quickly but as time goes on he needs to learn to come back when called on. It may just be a matter of on-going training.
We tried our first ever shoulder in today and he got a few steps a couple of times. We didn't stay with it long of course. We did it from a very small walk circle then onto the track with a few steps, then back to the circle, etc. He stayed very soft, forward and willing to try throughout this exercise which was nice, as it was very focused, required a lot of bend on the circle and it was brand new.
After that concentration and very 'picky' work we asked him to lengthen his trot. He is so capable of this and just hasn't offered it up lately or frequently, but today he did. Good boy! He was so fun today.
We also worked on leg yield a bit, but he'd regressed. Cheryl said that often happens when you start a new exercise (shoulder in), so we didn't work at it too much and ended up with a few decent steps.
At some point in there we worked on canter. My first transition wasn't well ridden and consequently he started off on the wrong lead (completely my fault - I had him off balance), but he immediately switched it himself :) so he knows. We stopped and did a review of the canter depart, then did it much better and did a nice long side, circle, simple change through trot and did the reverse. It's coming along nicely but I need to keep my heels down. I'm still in the mind set of trying to hold him in the canter, but he is carrying it well and I need to relax into a good position.It was a really fun lesson and Rogo is at a really fun stage. He's working with me and learning and a joy to be around.