Jackson and I had an excellent lesson today. We started lateral work so we are progressing! Yippee!! Which isn't to say that there aren't lots and lots of things for us to work on...
Lessons learned and homework:
1. Going sideways away from my inside leg isn't the best way to get Jackson's brain and bend back when he resists. Gayle had me stop and immediately do turns on the forehand, to the right, when he locks up. This helps Jackson unlock --and it helps me keep my eyes up. I was doing my usual eyes on the ground (bad bad girl) thing and I got VERY dizzy VERY fast since we had to turn around quite a few time before he gave. So, he learned to come back to me and I learned to keep my eyes up.
2. When working on straight lines, keep my right leg a tad heavier against his side than my left. This keeps him straight instead of falling in/out - whichever way right happens to be.
3. Corners: start to bend him a few strides before the corner, hands quiet with steady contact, tempo quick, straighten before leaving the turn. Jackson wants to slow down and be careful in the corner, I want to throw the reins away coming out. Such a pair we are!
4. Then the fun stuff. I haven't done any lateral work with Jackson before. When I got him he couldn't even walk in a straight line much less cross his legs. And then he injured his hock so that set us back about six months. So, today Gayle had us start working on leg yield from center line and from the quarter line. Jackson does well if I get him straight and relaxed first. If he anticipates, he worries, and then he gets tense and we have to do more turns on the forehand. So, if I get him straight, keep my hands quiet, ask with only my leg and a squeeze on the outside rein, and make sure he leads with his shoulder, he steps right on over.
So, it was a very productive lesson and I had quite a few moments where Jackson felt light and uphill and nicely connected -- and carrying himself. You know, those nano-seconds where it all clicks together and you grin from ear to ear because you're about to bust with happiness.
Oh, and the zipper on my right boot was halfway down after the lesson. Rats!