Brego is a new man, er, horse after his chiro work. His left canter is much improved and he feels so bendy and relaxed. I've had two fantastic dressage rides on him since the chiro work on Monday and he just gets better and better.
Our big mental breakthrough was getting a couple steps of haunches in (travers). I had been attempting to teach Brego how to step in the direction of bend as opposed to shoulders in (where the horse is moving in the opposite direction of bend). He was not getting it at all. I tried working in hand, I tried getting the bend from a standstill and then pulling my outside leg back and asking him to move his haunches. I tried a bastardization of turn on the forehand. Admittedly, I am not an experience dressage rider, so I am sure my weight was all wonky, etc, but Brego usually manages to figure out the intent of an exercise despite my muddled clues.
Well I went back to my books and really thought about the exercise. I got a crazy idea on what to try next. So today I spent a lot of time working on shoulder in at the walk, until it was very light and the bend was true and not on my inside hand. Then I opened my outside rein and used a little indirect rein on the inside hand to move his shoulders back to the track while keeping the bend with my inside leg, then in the same motion, I dropped my outside leg behind the girth and asked him to step over with his haunches. And he did it!! I couldn't believe how easy it was for him to understand keeping the same bend but shifting his body so that he was suddenly moving in the direction of bend. In my mind, it is a very advanced thing, but it must be easy for him to understand.
I got two good steps in haunches in, then deliberately asked him to straighten. I am really focusing on not "petering out" my aids when he does something right and we stop the exercise. I need to train myself to have crisp transitions into and out of each movement. Strangely, Brego was much better on the left bend in this shoulder in to travers exercise than the right bend. His right bend is usually his strongest. I will need to ponder more on what that means, but I am just so jazzed that he got it! And I taught it to him by myself, just by understanding balance and the purpose of the exercise. I feel like I am really starting to learn dressage, not just practice the patterns.
On a somewhat related note, Brego's swelling on the right hind is completely and totally gone. Vanished. My friend in Texas surmised that it was lingering because of Brego's pelvis being tilted to the right and he was "overusing" that right hind. Now that he is straightened, the strain is off his leg. Sounds pretty interesting to me, but I can't help but wonder... It had been getting better but seemed to stabilize into a wind puff type swelling with no heat. Then the chiro work on Monday and *poof* it's all gone. I don't know, but I am happy to have Brego's clean legs back!
The saddle fit went well, both saddles were spruced up. Wow, what a difference! It was much easier for me to ride the canters and no uncomfortable girl parts!!
As for this weekend, I was supposed to have a schooling show, but I scratched the show so I can go hunting instead. I feel like I am playing hooky from school, but I just want to go run around and not worry about competition. Plus, if I go hunting, I can pay them my membership dues and be an official member of a hunt!
The house inspection went well so we are full steam ahead for me to buy a farmette at the end of October. I can't wait to have Brego at home. Once the deal is done, I will have updates with pictures, etc, as we explore our new world.