Doug and I had a lesson with Joan today. We worked on lightening the forehand and the very beginning of collection - ramener.
Rogo was SO dead when we started today. He did not want to go forward. He was eating hay when I got there. Can horses be like people and not feel like moving too much when they're eating? I know you don't feed grain right before or after riding, but what about hay?
Some walk trot transitions helped and we got with the program. To begin the idea of collection we pushed with our seat, squeezed with our legs and then 'caught' the energy in our hands by slightly rolling the hands under, and holding all of this for a few seconds. The horse should engage his hind quarters, lift his head and lighten his forehand. Both Rogo and Savanah responded to Joan's satisfaction, although they have a long way to go (especially Rogo).
After we worked on that for a little while, we worked on canter lengthenings. I didn't think they'd be able to do it because we were inside and the indoor is small, but Rogo did it - lengthening for a few strides down the long side, coming back a bit on the short side and then lengthening again. Savanah didn't do it, but Doug's hip is very sore and he really couldn't push with his seat the way he needed to.
It's a little different that we're working on Rogo's canter lengthening before trot lengthening (although we have tried for a trot lengthening the odd time). The reason is that Rogo loves to canter and, for his stage of training, will lengthen and come back quite readily in the canter (unless he's outside and being 'strong' and then he just runs up the hill), but he still isn't all that keen about trot lengthening. We're going with what he seems ready for.After canter work we did some shoulder-in at my request. Savanah is doing really well at this. She can basically do it just fine, even though it was only about her third time ever being asked for it. Rogo did it well at the walk, especially bent left, but he doesn't stay consistent with it at the trot and can only do about four or five steps before you feel him start to stiffen and / or shift to get out of it. I should only do as many steps as he can comfortably do, and gradually increase them.
I'm realizing I have to work on fitness outside of riding. I thought that riding would keep me as fit as I needed at my stage, and it's all I have time for, but I'm realizing I need more stamina and strength. I don't know what the solution is because I HATE exercising. That's the great thing about riding - it's exercise and I love it, but to meet my goals I'm going to need more. Where will I find the time or energy for more exercise? What can I possibly do that I don't dread? Maybe I could work on longe lessons focused on position and strength? Just thinking out loud here...