April 6, 2011
I rode Jackson in the indoor arena. I did a nice warm up at the walk. I kept working on getting Jackson to round up a little by gently lifting the reins. If he didn’t bring his nose in, I would often take him on a smaller circle and wait for him to give his nose.
I rode in the smaller saddle again and I think it is helping. I keep using the knee rolls to help me remember to reposition my legs. After riding today, I feel pretty sore. I think (hope) that is because I am riding differently (better) and my body just has to get used to it.
I worked on my posting, which was better for a little bit, then it would get shaky, then better, etc. I kept trying to bring my legs back. I think that once I get used to having my legs farther back, it will get a lot better.
Jackson felt a lot softer when we did the lateral work today. I focused on small laterals with his head lower and not so tight. This helped and I think we had some really good steps of shoulder in.
We also did a little work on the Spanish Walk and Polka. I did the polka first to help Jackson not anticipate. He did it very well. Then I did the Spanish Walk. I would ask for three or four steps, not very big, then I would ask for one or two big steps (with the front) and then I rewarded him. I will see if this helps him do a better Spanish walk.
We had two nice flying lead changes, right to left. I tried to get left to right, but that is his harder side. I was able to quit right after he did a nice one, so hopefully that will get better. Another thing that has been helping the lead changes is for me to ask with my shoulders open and not hunched over. Sure it seems obvious, but I really struggled with it, and still do. But we make much more progress if I can remember to keep my upper body open.