Here were my take-away points from my lesson:
- Shorten my reins! (What's new?) There should be consistent contact without pulling back; always think "hands towards Lance's mouth."
- In the leg yield along wall at the walk exercise, Lance's front legs were crossing over well, but not his hind legs. Turns out (no surprise) that it was my fault; I was keeping him too straight. His rib cage is supposed to yield to my driving leg; when I let it, his hind legs cross much better!
- Then Julie asked us to do the same exercise at the trot, with less angle. =:-O That was challenging for both of us; Lance eloquently expressed his opinion about how difficult it was. Don't attempt too much at once; let him go straight and forward after a few steps of good effort.
- We proceeded to working on a 20m circle at trot and canter. Julie noted that Lance's hindquarters tend to drift to the outside, so had me put my outside leg back to keep them in place. He took this to mean canter, but Julie said he can learn the subtleties. Keeping his hindquarters in place greatly improved both gaits.
- Worked on good canter departs; don't accept so-so attempts by continuing at the canter!
- At the end Julie had us trot over three ground poles – simply placed at first, then moved closer together. I had to collect Lance's trot but keep it energetic to negotiate those; the pay-off was SUSPENSION! Once we consistently got collected suspension, Julie had me ask for a stretch of bigger trot afterwards. I can tell this is going to be huge in developing Lance's trot.
The first chance I got to work on our take-away points was yesterday morning; we had a really good schooling session. I dug out three odd pieces of PVC pipe to use as trot poles, and they worked just fine. My boy can actually "boing"! At the end, Lance had nice, foamy lips and a sweaty chest, telling me that my "energy-conservor" was working hard but without tension. That's what I want – short, effective schooling sessions!