I finally got some video of the progress Brego and I have made in the balance department. Of course, since there was a video camera present, the magical harmony of the previous ride was replaced with some tension. But I can't complain too much because Brego was still well behaved, he still tried his heart out. I think he might have been a bit tired from the work we did the last ride. He felt just a bit stiff in the mouth and neck. My riding could also have been a problem, since I always tense up for the camera.
I've been listening to Jane Savoie on CD on my commutes and every section reveals at least 12 things I am doing wrong. :) But one exercise she mentioned sounded really cool so I wanted to try it. On the second track, perform a shoulder-in, to renvers, to shoulder-in then a straight halt. The hind legs should stay on the track as the front shoulders move to the inside, the outside, back to the inside and then straight halt. On the second track, it's very hard, since you don't have the rail on the outside as a crutch. I filmed our first attempt at it. In the video, the second track lines up with the post in the background, so you can see how far we stray. The video highlights three major things I need to work on: Rhythm,Tempo and Bend. Brego's bend to the right is delicious, but he is much more stiff to the left (or the renvers side in this case). Also, as he performs the movement, he loses his rhythm and the tempo slows. Now I say that "Brego is this or that", but more likely, it's me or my cues. So this is something I need to work on. But I thought the exercise was really good at manifying these flaws so I can work on them.
The walk-canter transitions are coming along nicely. They illustrate Brego is gaining strength and balance. Even through his frame is "low", he is powering nicely into the transition and staying balanced.
The final thing I am proud of is the final halt. Brego actually dropped his butt in the downward transition instead of falling on his forehand and stabbing his legs into the ground. The canter to trot is weak, but the trot to walk to halt is much improved. Woot! Notice that I am not focusing on where his head is at all, I am focusing on his butt and his balance. The head "set" or frame will come out of these improvements we are making in his balance. The most important thing is to keep that big body pushing forward from behind and staying off the forehand.
As for my riding, I look pretty weak and I am still not sure what to do with my hands. I feel like my reins drift too long and you can see that when I break contact to shorten them, Brego comes up in front. I need to fix that bad habit to help him stay more consistent.
All in all, not bad for some winter work. I am not ready to go out and do my Training 4 test, but we will be ready by Summer, so I am very happy.