Sorry! I've been pretty busy so this post is actually for my lesson last week. I really really wanted to ride outside in the dressage arena to prepare for my upcoming show, but no such luck.
We didn't do a whole lot of new exercises, just trying to fine tune what we have going on right now. Dexter is still having some balance issues, rhythm is good now he just needs to hold himself up. Dexter likes to dive in when going to the right and pop out when going to the left. He always has and it's gotten a lot better but he still has some tendencies. So we spent a lot of time on a 15 meter circle to the right trying to get him balanced. He is good for the first 3/4s of the circle then loses it as we head back to the rail. Trainer had to constantly remind me to ride from the back to front, I think I finally got it near the end of the lesson.
We did the same work at the canter, at least Dexter is consistent with his flaws. We also practiced cantering down the long side and not barreling down the long side. He is getting much better, he still gets strong but doesn't completely loose it. We even made it down the whole long side, I know it doesn't sound like much but before we could only do half at a time before he would fall apart. And I am finally able to relax at the canter. For so long I would get stiff and push him every stride, now that he is getting it, I can sit back and make minor adjustments. Now that I can enjoy it, he has a super comfortable canter.
We ran through Training Level Test 1 in prep for the show. It wasn't a total disaster. Things we obviously don't practice much - traveling down the center line, the stretch circle (although we do stretch quite a bit it takes more than a circle to get there), diagonals, and the working walk. So before ending we practiced some stretch circles. It's interesting to see how far me and Dexter have come and what still holds us back. He used to avoid the bit like the plague and now he leans on it comfortably. But when we go into the stretch and I ask him to follow the bit down he gets confused and curls his neck avoiding it again. Like I said, he finally figures it out after a while but I have to be super soft because any correction brings him right back up. Not sure why he defaults to this, but we are working on it.
We still need to work on his center line, he goes down it anticipating a turn somewhere. So it's more of a center wiggle than a center line. But he was pretty pooped after all the canter work so we will save that for the next time.