- forward and straight
- one rein stops
- stay on the rail
- teaching a leg cue for forward
Then as a separate lesson at another time, I can work on developing his one-rein-stop from his back. He is very familiar with it on the ground so it is just a matter of transitioning it to under saddle reliably. And rather than just throwing the stop at him, I should be working into it with three flexions first. When I practiced this in front of her, Sarah pointed out that I was not finding the appropriate leverage point for Ande. I had developed a comfortable leverage point on Smarty and Elly, but Ande is just a pony and so I needed to find the appropriate point for him, rather than just going to a set position for my arms. Duh! That's why it's so nice to have a lesson with someone else watching!!!
Sarah also recommended I not give with my hands as much as I was when I ask for a go forward. I was really throwing my reins at him in an effort to be soft on this green pony but she pointed out that I was also throwing my weight on his forehand as I did this, making it more difficult for this green pony. So I got her to tag me for just giving with my hands to the point of his withers :) It's fun being tagged!
Because I am usually on him for only about 15 minutes, I got concerned after a bit about how much was too much for him so I hopped off. Usually I remove his tack and let him stay and graze in the round pen so Sarah suggested just removing the bridle while we chatted for a while (10- 15 min?), and then I put the bridle back on and got on again. This turned out to be a great situation. He had a break, had a graze but then went back to work. He immediately walked off nicely and went right into a very nice swinging walk which we did Passenger Lesson with. After several C/Ts, I realized I had not had to use my verbal cue at all to get him forward- he was going off my leg 100%. Yay! I do need to remember to be clear to take my leg off when he goes forward to keep that cue clean and meaningful.
Sarah also pointed out another exercise I should begin working on: accelerating off a leg cue. Technically right now, closing my leg to Ande means "walk". If I close it again while he is walking, he may be confused because he is already walking! I need to teach him that leg means "more forward" (with even more nuances in the future) and understand that he may not know that now. I can use a target or voice aids to help explain this to him.
Now if this wonderful weather would just hold, I'll have lots to work on with him.