September 3, 2010
We did it! We did four flying lead changes today! This was something that Jackson and I had been working on. Jackson had gotten very good at doing simple changes with only one or two trot steps in between.
So a friend of mine, Sarah, came over today to help me. She has been riding English for about four years and is way ahead of me in lots of areas. She helped me a lot with posting as well. I really felt like I was much more in rhythm with Jackson and it felt like way less movement.
After that, I showed her Jackson’s simple lead changes, which she agreed were very nice and relaxed. Then I showed her me trying to do a flying lead change, which didn’t work. Then she got on and worked with him. We put three ground poles together and she asked for a change over them. The first time, he didn’t change, but then the second time, he did a clean flying change, left to right!
She then did several more changes, in each direction. She showed me how she was getting the counter bend coming up to the poles, and then really trying to exaggerate the cues to tell him that we wanted something different. A couple of times, he didn’t change cleanly, but most of the time they were good changes.
Then I got on and tried. The first time, Jackson did change. Sarah said to exaggerate it even more. So I went around again (left lead), came on a straight line, then flexed him right, and really tried to exaggerate it just before we got to the pole, and he changed cleanly! I petted him right away and told him he was a good boy! I let him rest for a moment.
Then I did it two more times cleanly. The third time, he didn’t change right away, so I went around again and he changed leads just fine. He seems to have a harder time changing right to left, but we will work on it.
Now I am going to work on refining my aids and then work at in on straight lines.
It was a very good day! Wind and all. Thanks, Sarah!