I rode a few times this week - I completely got busy and forgot to post about all of them, but she has been doing REALLY, REALLY well.
She is no longer ear-pinning at the trot. Transitions are very nice, especially trot-canter. She has been SO consistent with them, knock on wood. Very clean. It's trotting, cantering, not trotting, trotting faster, and canter.
She is also no longer fighting my contact. She's trying to figure it out all over again, but she is really trying to stretch down. I even got her to trot a few strides really, really collected on Saturday. As in, dressage collected. Circles were a little wonky. She didn't want to trot them, she wanted to canter them.
We will continue to work on trot consistency. Canter consistency is pretty good. She gets excited in some places and wants to get quick, but she's easy to settle back into a slower gait. Also going to continue to work towards getting in contact and leg yielding at the trot. She leg yields WONDERFULLY at the walk, so getting that responsiveness at the trot is the next step.
I've decided to set monthly goals for us. Sometimes I tend to skip the small stuff because the big stuff is so much fun! But it's important to lay the foundation for the big stuff, so here we are.
-Consistency at the trot
-Continued improvement on transitions, walk-trot; trot-canter; canter-trot; trot-walk.
-Being comfortable and steady in contact.
-More responsive to half-halts.
-25m and 20m circles at the trot.
-Big, wide canter circles.
If we can accomplish these things, some things I have in mind for December are simple changes of lead, walk-canter transitions, canter-walk transitions, and 25m canter circles. Having a lesson with Casey soon, and as far as jumping goes, I will let her access us and tell me when she thinks we have accomplished enough on the flat to start that.
I can tell Amber's fitness is improving. Her strength and stamina are much better. I think getting in shape has helped her back soreness too. Her hind end is toning up a bit too. I really want to build up her hind end muscles, because that will really help her hocks.