So I slacked today and didn't ride. No real reason other than I was tired and felt more in the mood to do a beauty day. What do you call a beauty day when you have a gelding? Hmmm...I'll have to come up with something so I don't embarrass Charlie by calling it a beauty day!
Saturday was a flat day and he was quite good. I really have to remember to lean back (that's my visual image) because it makes such a difference in his balance. Ironically, I find it easier to ride him on a straight line then a circle. Something is very definitely wrong with that! I worked a lot on the walk - just keeping him forward and not making a big deal about the contact. Still needs lots of work but at least he's forward! Really happy about that as he sucked back so badly in Dec/Jan.
Sunday we jumped! Nothing major, just some footwork exercises. I set up 4 poles, 9 feet apart to a small vertical. The exercise is to canter in and let him figure out where his feet are. I think I helped him too much! I hate poles on the ground; I just can't figure out how to ride them. Charlie was pretty good - he ran through it once or twice and then seemed to figure it out. For the last 2 times through, I made the vertical into a small oxer. I love the footwork exercises because I feel like I ride much better when I have to think more. The other thing I have to remember and this is huge when riding a course or cross country is to KEEP HIS HEAD UP! I've never had a horse that I had to worry about picking their face up so this is totally new to me. He jumps so much better and his balance is so much better when his head isn't dragging on the ground. Rocket science, right? Hehe!
Another dressage lesson with Carolyn tomorrow. I think I really want to work on trot-walk transitions as when I go to walk after trotting, Charlie thinks it's break time and becomes a 12hh pokey shetland pony. Very annoying! I think it's really that I need to 1) sit for 3 steps and prepare for the transition 2) keep my leg on in the transition (hello, downward transitions 101!) and 3) keep my seat active throughout the whole evolution. Looking forward to it!