Sunshine and success

Yesterday was the first properly warm spring day, I was very tempted to ride outdoors with just a t-shirt on. Because both the indoor arenas were fully booked up until late into the night, I decided to put on my big girl pants and rode outdoors... And what a great idea that was.
Outdoor arena and sunshine :)
Because neither one of us is normally very happy on the big outdoor arena, I always try to avoid it the best I can (bad rider I know!) but since the weather was SO lovely, I was feeling pretty optimistic and Vallu felt so relaxed.

After a good ten minutes of walking about with LONG reins and with absolutely no spooking happening I decided to start working on the trot. Once again, no problems and at this point I was already over the moon!!! Normally as soon as I ask for something more than walk Vallu starts messing about and he totally loses his focus on me. Even with arena eventing practise jumping happening in the other indoor/outdoor arenas, Vallu managed to keep his attention on me.

As everything was going well, I decided to start working on the homework that Andrew had given us during last Thursday's lesson, and that was canter to trot transitions. Sounds simple enough yes, but boy can they be difficult to get perfect! I either hold on too much and Vallu does a canter walk transition of then then I don't do enough and Vallu just stays in canter and ends up doing some very nice collected canter!! :D With some very clear and consistently used aids, we managed to get there in the end on Thursday, so we picked up from where we left off. It seems like we both remembered immediately how to do them! Breathe out, soften outside rein, half halt, and immediately once Vallu moves down to trot, asking for a bit more forwards so that we get a big trot straight away.
Vallu loving the sunshine
We'd only been working for 30 minutes by this point (including ten minute walk) so I thought we needed to do some more work, considering the fact that Vallu has had 5 days of easy work and lots of hacking out. So I decided to do another exercise that Andrew made us do last Thursday, which was transitions within a pace, and this time it was canter; so we did transitions between working canter and extended canter on a big 20m circle. It was great to finally be brave enough to be able to push Vallu to go properly forwards even when we are working outdoors!

I managed to get a huge breakthrough in my own head. When I keep myself and Vallu busy with work and different and difficult exercises, then no spooks happen!! It's so obvious but I think it needs to happen first before you can believe in it...

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