We had yet another AMAZING lesson last night! I am floored by how quickly Gatsby and I have progressed recently. When we came to DK early last month we had both had about a month off but even before that we hadn't really been in full-on training mode. In our first lesson with Alexis we worked over little baby jumps and Gats and I were both pretty rusty and all over the place. Since then we have spent all of our lessons and rides working on keeping Gatsby calm and focused and it has really paid off!!
Yesterday we started out working on a circle to get Gatsby relaxed and straight. We also did some spiral-in/spiral-out to really get him to use he haunches on that smaller circle. We then moved on to a gymnastic exercise which started out as a small cross-rail, one stride to some poles, one stride to some more poles. This quickly built up and eventually we had a cross-rail, one stride to a 3'3 vertical, one stride to a 3'6 oxer. Once Gatsby had mastered this, which he did very quickly, we incorporated the gymnastic into a course. We would go through the grid, bending line to a bounce in the corner, around to a big vertical out of the other corner, 6 strides to a big square oxer, roll back to a vertical and another bending line to a vertical. We did this a few times and I was just astounded by how amazing my horse felt.
The only thing we had a slight issue with was the 6 stride line from vertical to square oxer. Coming off the corner to the vertical I had to really focus on keeping him straight as he really likes to pop that right shoulder. I also used to time on the small side of the arena to really ride him into the canter that I wanted. We got a couple messy lines, a 7 and a couple of 5's. I did afterwards find out that the line WAS set for 5 but we just wanted him to do it in 6. We never ended up with that perfect 6 strides but we did get a nice 6 with a long take-off which I was very happy about because he will normally chip in the extra 7th stride.
I was also extremely pleased after our lesson when I remembered that I had switched him back to a full-cheek snaffle from the kimberwicke and I hadn't even noticed it the lesson!
I am super excited to get out to Twin next month to school cross-country and I am even more excited to start out the season!