Lili made me laugh when she said that "this horse has got you SO sussed out" :D Well yes Vallu has had three years to learn how to get what he wants from me, and so now I need to up my game.
Although, what a difference 6 weeks at the new yard has done to us, and you can really see it/feel it even just when we are warming up. Vallu is much more happy to go forwards and be in front of my leg, and also a lot straighter. I've also learnt to keep my hands more still (it's better, not 100% yet but getting there) and make sure that Vallu stays soft through his neck.
We then moved on to checking that the gears within canter worked. Because Vallu has got such a lovely canter, it's very easy to just get stuck in his lovely collected canter and to not actually be doing a proper working canter. Every time I thought I had a good working canter going, Lili said more because it had only improved by 1%, oops. And then when I used my spurs a bit to get a proper working canter going Vallu decided to say no and did some very nice broncs and leaps in the air with the result that my back is killing me :D Norty pony. Doing transitions within canter is not a new exercise for us, but nowadays it is about getting it perfect. When coming back to collected canter I simply have got to make sure that I don't over ride it and end up getting pirouette style canter, as there is such a fine line between the two.
The next thing to work on was half passes. Every test at advanced medium has half passes in them, so it was good to try and perfect them. Vallu finds half passes very easy and as I can feel how easy they are for him, I don't ride them as well. It also doesn't help that both half passes are different and have to be ridden differently in order to get the best out of them... Although the main aim for both directions are to get the horse parallel, in the right half pass my left leg (outside leg) asking him to move his quarters over more and to not overreact and bugger off sideways, whereas in the left hand pass I need to use less of my right leg (outside leg) as Vallu tends to go quarters leading. Not confusing at all :D
Originally we started with a full diagonal half pass, but Lili decided that we should only half a diagonal - so either from the centreline to E or B, or then after the corner to the centreline. This made me focus better so I rode better so the quality of the half pass was better - very logical ;) The half passes to the centreline were incredibly difficult at first because once you reached the centreline, you had to carry on it, and Vallu thinks this means changes and going in the other direction. So that forced me to sit deeper and straighter and to not shift my weight around so that Vallu wouldn't start doing tempi changes on the last half of the centreline. Another good pointer from Lili was that when doing half pass is to make sure you are sitting on your inside seat bone (e.g. left half pass make sure you sit on your left seat bone)
Cheeky pony but again I've learnt so much, Vallu is such a good schoolmaster and I think he's going to be teaching me to ride properly right until the end ♥︎ Another Brooksby lesson soon, fingers crossed!