Last week's training

Vallu has been so good for the last week, I've been super impressed by his attitude to work and it has simply been a pleasure to ride him. I am 100% convinced that him hacking out with Hollie riding him has been the main reason behind this. Instead of having to always work and train with me, Vallu now has to concentrate on surviving out on a hack in the real world with a proper rider who is isn't affected at all by his spooking. So big thank you to Hollie and the other girls who are working with Vallu to make him a proper bomb proof happy hacker! (That was not a sentence that I ever expected to say about Vallu...)
My little mule

Ever since Ian's lesson I've been focussing on getting Vallu to really become more flexible and more engaged from behind. Instead of being satisfied with Vallu being 75% active and engaged, I now want 80-85%. One of the main problems of riding alone often is that you get used to the same response and the same amount of activity and engagement, and (at least I do this) often forget that you can try to push yourself and your horse for just that tiny bit more! Even Vallu's trot feels good, I've been concentrating on asking myself it could be just a little bit better? And if it can be better, then making sure to improve it!

So as well as doing plenty of leg yielding (or moving sideways like a crab as one of my lovely non-horsey friends called it (; ) I have also been working on flying changes. Since Vallu finds flying changes pretty easy, it makes it very easy for me to mess things up and for him to do whatever he wants. Especially once Vallu realizes that I want to work on tempi changes, he might ignore my aids and so we don't do a flying change and carry on with counter-canter, or then he might do random one tempis when I'm asking for four tempis, or do four tempis when I'm asking for three tempi changes etc... So in order for me to be able to practice tempi changes (flying changes are my most difficult movement) without Vallu knowing what exactly to expect, I've been throwing in random tempis (e.g. one single flying change at the beginning of the diagonal, then a few three tempi changes, and then a single flying change near the end) and changing the tempis along the diagonal (e.g. starting with four tempi changes and switching to three tempi changes in the middle) This has been a great exercise in getting Vallu to wait and listen to me instead of charging ahead thinking that he knows it all - to be fair he is better at them than me but still..! But it's good, I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable during the tempi changes, and I don't feel like I'm bouncing all over the place or jumping out of the saddle as much as before. 

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