This morning I had the weather and time to work with Lance, and was eager to apply what I'd listened to yesterday. But first I got the clippers out to trim up his bridle path, chin, ears and fetlocks, and used scissors to shape his tail a bit. The boy cleans up pretty good! I think I am going to relax my standards, dress casually (sweater or vest instead of dressage coat), and not braid him for the show this weekend, as Sylvia suggested in the comments the other day.
After Lance's 'shave and a haircut,' I tacked him up and put him on the lunge line. I figured the first "go question" – Is my horse taking responsibility for maintaining the gait I put him in? – would be even easier to ask from the ground than from the saddle. It didn't take long at all for Lance to understand what I was expecting – not that he wanted to exert himself that much, mind you. :-)
Then I mounted, and worked on the second "go question." When I lightly apply a driving aid (leg, seat, voice or whip), does my horse respond enthusiastically and surge forward? Again, it didn't take long at all for Lance to understand my expectations and comply. (Obviously, the horse is plenty smart; it's the owner we should worry about – ha.) It was so nice to ride a more responsive horse with more energetic gaits! Now if only I can find more time and dry spells to ride this week, I really do think we'll be better prepared for the show on Sunday than we would have been if I hadn't listened to Jane Savoie's excellent presentation yesterday.