I am so behind on the blogging thing, so this is about my lesson Wednesday with Joan Darnell.
I started off just walking on a long rein, and I told Joan about what I'd learned in the week since I'd last ridden with her. Namely, that he does better with a walk warmup on a loose rein, and that I had really been working on the bending and making him move away from my leg. She commented that I had been doing a lot of thinking in the week and that was good.
I picked up the reins, got a good walk, and moved off in the trot. He was absolutely fabulous both directions. We worked on 15 meter circles and some spiral in/spiral out. Each time he became unbalanced and lost his bend, I was able to get him back together within just a few steps, which was really exciting. We worked on walk/trot transitions, and really focused on keeping the bend and the throughness during the transition. It went really nicely, and we only did the hop into the transition a few times.
After a bit of a break, we moved on to canter. His transitions up were excellent to the right, and passable to the left, but still need work. When he gets tired, he's just not nearly as good to the left. We worked on downward transitions as well, and I learned that I can get a much better transition if I don't stare at his ears. Shocking, that.
We finished up the lesson doing trot/halt transitions down the center line. I learned that he halts with his haunches to the left, at the last second. I swear that he didn't do that in previous rides, but he kept doing it, so Joan had me really put my left leg on him in the halt. It was better if I did the transition from trot to halt with as few walk steps as possible. I think I may be weighting my right stirrup and seatbone more than my left, causing him to swing left, but it's something I need to work on being straighter myself.
ZZ very kindly took a few pictures of us during the lesson, although because of the lighting photography was difficult. I really think he's starting to look like a dressage horse!