Scott popped in for a quick day of lessons, and dang, am I ever glad I have an indoor. Ridiculous 50 mph winds and 22* do not make for a fun clinic! But we cranked up the ol' propane heaters, wore lots of layers, ate lots of my mom's yummy BBQ, and the day was not half bad.
Midge was up first, and he was a holy terror. He's not too much fun this time of year anyway, especially when it's cold and windy. Add that to the (gasp!) auditors, and the (gasp!) heaters, and the (gasp!) tables of stuff in the seating area, and Midge was, to put it eloquently, a big dork. He did finally settle, but not until at least halfway through my ride. He did show off some very nice pirouette work, and Scott helped me with the tempis and canter half-pass, both of which are improving, but still the holes in the PSG.
He had me be way more playful in the contact in the half-pass; Lendon had me spooked about getting him through from both reins, and not just one, so I was getting into a leverage fight, making his neck shorter and shorter instead of getting the throughness and getting the heck out of the way.
He also agreed that my problem with the tempis and with the change mid-half pass zig zag is the same—that Midge lays on my right leg. I'd been a little cautious to get after it, because I didn't want to make crooked changes by doing them in leg yield left all the time, but Scott told me not to worry—he had to be in self-carriage and off my leg, or it didn't matter whether the change was straight or not.
Ella, who has been SUCH a trouper, is pretty pooped, and she was a good girl but just didn't have a lot of go today. She got hung up in the ones, which lately have been SO easy, though I think that was less about fatigue and more about my decision to wear bigger spurs.
I normally work her in little weenie rounded spurs, but about once a week, when I want to school the piaffe/passage, I put on a pair of flat rowels, because they make her quicker, not just more powerful like the little spurs do. As a result, in the ones she tangles her legs up. But we'll get through it.
She made nice pirouettes, but not as nice as they have been. I really wanted to get to the piaffe and passage, which have been fine, but I wasn't really sure where I should be taking them. I told Scott I was worried about the transitions, particularly passage-piaffe-passage (in and out of trot, she's a machine), and that in general the rhythm isn't always perfect. Scott told me I was riding the passage rhythm too slow, which I'm still amazed by—what he said was dead on felt SO fast! Time for a change of perspective, I guess! Sure enough, at a quicker tempo the transitions got WAY better.
Ella was fairly convinced her right hind leg was going to fall off at any moment by that point, so we didn't get to do as much as I'd have liked, but she was a super good girl, and I'm really happy with where the work headed.
Tomorrow I'm off on a big horse-shopping trip. It'll involve more travelling than riding, but both horses I'm going to see look lovely on video, so here's hoping!