Last night we had one of those rare amazing rides where it feels too good to be true. After a kind of crappy walk warm-up (mostly due to me stopping to let him look at people walking in the dark, since I hadn’t unthawed enough to sit a spook if it happened), we had a beautiful trot warm-up, light in the bridle and nicely forward.
I decided to work on our [dressage quality] walk-canter transitions, starting with the right lead as his departs tend to be better in that direction. A couple times he tried to pull himself into the canter with his neck, but was quickly rewarded when he learned to stay soft into the transition. We were able to replicate our success several times, then repeat the process to the left.
From there I was easily able to transition into collected canter work, which was surprisingly satisfactory. So satisfactory that I wondered if maybe forward was becoming an issue, so we played with lengthenings- which while not huge, were still there even in the small arena.
I couldn’t put my finger on why he just ‘got it’ last night, especially since it was so gosh-forsaken cold and we should have been icicles instead of pretend dressage superstars. Maybe because I was more deliberate in my cues? Quicker with praise? In any case, Foster will be getting the evening off tonight while I get whisked away to the husband’s holiday work party (not really, I’m the DD), and then Sunday we will hopefully have a dressage lesson and validate whether we’ve been doing it wrong the whole time!