Taken during a lesson 2 weeks ago:
The smile says it all!
Since the April show, we have began to concentrate on riding Riva in contact at all times. We do warm up with a stretchy trot on the buckle and walk on the buckle. Otherwise, when the reins are gathered up, she is expected to work with contact.
We have also incorporated lounging in side reins - they do not crank her in to position...but encourage her to work over her back. This really helps when I get on to ride. She is doing well with the change - I get more and more times of feeling her back round and lift...like riding on a ball. It is hard work for both of us, but the results are so gratifying.
At my lesson last Tuesday, my trainer had me go thru my Intro B test and then we chose some elements to work on. She helped me with my turn on to the diagonal that immediately goes into free walk. We worked on getting the turn sharp and how to get Riva to lower her head and really swing in the walk. After working thru this, we concentrated on upward and downward transitions. We found that Riva does much better when I sit the trot for a few beats in both up and down transitions - much smoother and responsive. We also worked on the trot down the centerline and halts at X - we achieved several square halts with a lowered head.
I never knew just walking could be so much fun! After our lesson, I practiced the medium walk to free walk back to medium walk by walking around the pond and front property. I figured the more we practice with distractions - traffic going by on the road, dogs running around barking, birds swooping over the pond - the better we will be at a show.
Lex came and gave me a mini lesson on Friday evening and rode a bit for me. She had me work thru an exercise of riding a 10 meter circle in each corner and on every second corner, ride an extended trot across the diagonal. This was challenging for Riva and I - me because Lex pushes me to get Riva moving bigger in contact and really stepping under on the circles - and hard work for Riva because Lex got on after me and rode the same exercise. I am sure Riva was relieved to get her normal Saturday off and a bonus holiday of Easter Sunday!