Wanting to capitalise on Sunday's great session in the school (camelid impressions aside!), I rode in the school again last night.
First, though, we had to get to the school. Quadi remains convinved that the road is still impassible due to ice. Most of it has melted, only a little bit remains. Sadly the little bit remaining was exactly where he wanted to walk, which cemented his thinking that there was obviously ice everywhere and I was wholly unreasonable to ask him to leave the warm, velvety safety of the yard!
We ended up going backwards to the gate (the school is in a little paddock) and then catleaping the threshhold (the ground immediately after the gate was darker and trampled, I can only assume he thought it was ice or a black hole...
I'm pleased we got there, every little victory for me will swell his confidence that I can be the Decision-Maker. All of this was in the dark so I can put this down to his self-preservation. I let him do his favourite school move...flinging the gate open with his nose to let us in ;)
I can't things felt as good as they did on Sunday, but then we had no fireworks so that's probably more progress again. Left rein is my bogey rein and right is his. It means things always look a little squiggly on the left because I can't keep still, and on the right we can maintain bend but it's a little trickier for him.
I maintained his head carriage more consistently than the previous session, and he moved off both my legs really freely. I can't keep him in a straight line (I think this is down to anomilies in my position) so we stuck to always changing the bend. More little pieces are clicking into place. I can isolate my inside seatbone for bend, turns and circles, I'm finding it easier to ask for bend by opening my hand and trying to maintain that contact, I can use my legs whilst still having an allowing seat, and in general being more co-ordinated and thinking ahead.
We were going along quite well so I decided to attempt trot. My ploy is a little boring for schooling, using a 20m circle to the right until we were settled and light, and then asked him up to trot. Which is like sitting on a power boat, his front end comes right up and he really drops his quarters! I didn't maintain softness into the transition but quickly regained it, and off we went down the long side. For a little 15.2 he has a huge trot and it felt like I had more gears at my disposal. The school seemed a lot smaller in trot! Bringing him to walk also probably wasn't too pretty as but he was a little fizzy, but he came back to my aids and we did the same on the left rein. Because he knew we were going to trot it took a bit longer just to relax but he got it. It was trickier on the left and he broke into canter, but I let him continue and we also had a cheeky canter on the right. Again, not too pretty into and out of the pace, but it was really nice to have a semblance of control and for him to steady himself and not to panic.
After that we cooled off. Quadi looked most pleased with himself as I dismounted and gave him his after-work sweetie (if it's good enough for the Lippis of the SRS it's good enough to reward my horse in the same way!).