Two steps forward and one step back. ...I had a lesson on Lucy today. It was hard. Sandy is very precise with position and I can't seem to keep everything coordinated. My fingers flop open instead of staying curled in a fist, I forget to use my wrist to get contact, my left elbow locks and the arm flops around and I tip forward.
We worked a bit on my sitting trot. Specifically, my flopping left arm which doesn't flop with Lucy's mouth but against it. Sandy had me hook my finger through the bucking strap to stabilize my arm, and then follow the motion with my elbow and shoulder. It helped a lot. My right arm doesn't do the floppy dance; just the left. At the same time, I had to work to keep Lucy from rushing. A rushed trot is not easy to sit.
I had to trust Lucy not to run off with me. Half halts had to be followed by release so she didn't feel trapped. At the trot, it worked great. She would slow, I'd give, she'd relax. Happy horse, happy rider. At the canter? Not so easy.
I tried to follow with my elbows, sat tall, sat deep. She started to rush. I used a strong half halt - nothing - a stronger one - not much change.
I'm thinking "Slow down horse, holy crap, would you slow down!"
Lucy's thinking "I'm trapped, holy crap, she has me in a death grip, get me out of here!"
Um, yeah, the canter work was not very good. We changed direction and prepared to canter the other direction; the more difficult direction. Great. Then Sandy gave me great advice. She said "You can always change your mind. Lucy can feel you thinking canter and she gets worried. Instead think maybe not; maybe I'll just trot. Ease in and out of the canter thoughts."
It worked great. I asked for canter and then thought about trot. Lucy slowed and I released. It was just a few strides but they were very nice strides.