Dressage lesson with Ville Vaurio: Refinement

I had probably the funniest lesson yesterday in a long long time. There were several times that I had to stop riding so that I could laugh out loud, because laughing whilst riding means that you can't breathe properly :D Vallu was a super pony once again, and after a worrying start we managed to finish on a brilliant note again.
This photo basically sums up my life with Vallu
I think it's very important to train with a normal bridle as well as a double bridle, and I don't do it enough... Which meant that when Ville told me to shorten my reins, I couldn't figure out how to get Vallu soft and short. My brain just went "whaaaaaaaat!?!?" And apparently tensing up and using a harder hand isn't the right solution.... Nope. The right thing to do is to leave your hands soft and still and in the right place, and just ride pony forwards and do the exercises (e.g shoulder in or travers) and ta-daa, you have a soft, well connected and forward going horse. Magic ;)
We practised shoulder-in and travers today, which was great since during our lessons we don't focus on these very often either. They are rather easy, but you can always refine it. Tiny corrections included letting go of the inside rein during shoulder-in and to prepare for the travers already in the corner so that it flows better. 

And one of my new pet hate exercises is a medium canter on a 20 meter circle. Arghh, it is super difficult. We can do medium canter on a diagonal or on the long side no problem, but on a circle?!? I never knew that being on circle, keeping Vallu soft and supple and doing medium canter could be so tough. But we got there in the end, it just requires a lot of preparation and careful riding from me. When I ride it right, then Vallu can do the exercise right! Quelle surprise ;)

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