|Time to get the blanket out, but at least we're getting some grass|
I'm not totally sure what to make of Cupid's health/attitude right now. He is still sometimes grumpy/sensitive when I ask him to trot. It is much better, less frequent and if it does happen I just need to ask again and he'll go. I've also figured out the best position to ask; sitting back slightly but keeping my seat light, and then just a squeeze with my legs at the girth (instead of behind where they tend to slip to). I was thinking of maybe doing a blood panel to make sure Cupid doesn't have any deficiencies. I asked my trainer about it and she thought it was worth discussing with the vet; Cupid is due for vaccines anyhow so I can ask then. Or could it just be the change in season or a growth spurt? I really don't know, but it is making me a little stressed because he is just not acting like himself.
We had some pretty good flatwork lessons this week, aside from the few times he didn't want to go. But we got the left lead both lessons! At first I was still having some trouble, so what we did was go to the right, pick up the right lead, then go across the diagonal changing directions but staying on the right lead to the left. We went around the short end and down the long end in the counter canter, then I asked for a simple change in the next corner and we got the left lead! I think Cupid realized it would be easier than continuing to counter canter! In my last lesson we also started from the right lead, but asked for the simple change on the diagonal and got it the first try, so maybe Cupid remembered. My trainer said I am usually better about keeping him straight on a diagonal too.
I've been working hard on my position (especially soft elbows, hands closed, and heels down), and on riding more off my outside rein. An exercise I did was to ride a twenty meter circle at the trot, then do a ten(ish) meter circle between the outside line and centerpoint of the big circle, resisting the urge to pull my inside rein. My trainer said take and give on the inside rein if I need to, but not hold it. It also helped having my crop in my outside hand to keep his shoulder from going out, especially going to the left. It was much easier going to the right.
I finally ordered a tack trunk to go in front of Cupid's stall. I have so much stuff for him I think I need about 3 more...