Brego got two days rest after the big hunter pace while I worked on the farm. Today, we went back to work on dressage. It's been awhile since we've done dressage and neither one of us were excited to be back in the arena. But we have to pay our dues in dressage to be balanced and obedient enough to have fun cross country.
Brego started stiff, but more forward than usual. I was sure to be very clear with my leg aids, so I didn't fall back into the nagging trap. He did very well, consider he's had a couple days off. To mix things up a bit, I worked on him just responding to my legs from sidepass to turn on the forehand to turn on the haunches to reinback to walk to shoulderin. I would change his bend or his direction every few steps which has a lightening effect on his front end. My former dressage trainer used to say that you want your horse so balanced it feels like you're perched on top of a big exercise ball: he could go any direction at any time. Brego is not quite that balanced, but he was very obedient to my leg and moved instantly in the direction I indicated.
I also concentrated on not collapsing my inside shoulder on circles which is a terrible habit I have. And miraculously, when I sat up straight, he stopped dropping his own shoulder into the circle as well. I really shouldn't be surprised when I am taught again and again by my horse that my riding is the issue, but it still amazes me that he can be at once such a sensitive creature and a giant meathead. It's all about expectations, I suppose.
We're due for a string of beautiful dry weather so his foot adhesive is off and we're gearing up for the schooling three phase on May 31. I plan to go schooling on the cross country course early next week. Tomorrow, we will be doing dressage, but I am going to ride down to the fairgrounds to the big turf arena in the parking lot and see if that gets us more excited. I do love dressage, but the rush of the hunter pace is still pounding in our hearts.