So it has been two steps forward and one step back and/or two steps forward and three steps back. Let's see, we've gone for a couple lessons with the dressage coach and we were continuing to work on lunging with side reins - the exercises advanced to transitions and spiraling in and spiraling out on a circle. After our lesson two weeks ago we were pronounced ready for an under-saddle lesson.
So on Monday we had the lesson under saddle. I lunged him first with the side reins and that was good so then I got on and we worked on walk. And halt. And walk and halt. And turning with an opening rein. And walk and halt. Then we trotted the long side of the arena and walked on the short side. And then halted. And then walked and then trotted. Then walked again and halted. See a pattern here?
The good news is that I seem to be on the right track with the work I've been doing at home, which is walk, halt, walk, trot, walk, halt, change direction, etc.
Today I rode Mac at home and put my swan neck spurs on which are long and point upward. The purpose of these is that I can keep my leg on and give him an aid with the spur without moving my leg out of position (because of his size my leg hangs down longer than his barrel so in order for me to get a spur on him I have to raise my heel which pulls my leg out of position). These spurs work very well and I barely have to move my toe out for him to know they are there. Which is good. Unless something happens and I accidentally use them more than I need to.
Mac is at the point where he's rooting in the bridle, which means he's grabbing the bit and putting his head down. At one point in our ride today he did that and pulled me out of balance and my leg swung back and my spur got him when I didn't mean for it to. So he jumped up in the air and bucked. Thank goodness for my western saddle! I think he was pretty startled by it and he didn't try to do anything further and I sat up and got back into position. That is the downside of the spurs.
We went on to have a good ride and we made improvement on his leaning in on his left shoulder at the trot. When we took walk breaks we went to a jump standard where I had left my sweatshirt and I leaned over and took it off the standard and flopped it all around his neck and head and rump and he stood still so that was also a good schooling exercise.
I have to remember to ride every step because he doesn't know enough to cart me around on his own, lol. But I'm glad to know that I'm on the right track with my own schooling at home and progress WILL come!
Oh yeah, and we worked the other day with the fly spray. It is amazing what he'll stand and tolerate when cookies are offered as a reward!!!