Willow and I have been having a blast for the past couple of weeks. She's mostly off my hand, and Leslie's got us schooling most of second level. In Thursday's lesson, we started on walk-canter, and Willow surprised us both by nailing it, both directions, every time. I thought that lifting her big self into canter from walk would be a bugaboo for her. Shows what I know. Ten-meter canter circles are feeling really good now, too. All this work should really help strengthen her hind end. Leslie wants to see her stepping well under behind to free up her shoulders.
I bought myself a pair of Rein Bow rein aids and have been using them every other ride. They're loops that clip to the reins and allow you to effortlessly maintain your rein length. I find that they really help when introducing a shorter rein length. Willow realizes very quickly that yanking the reins through my fingers is a no-go, and she stops trying. I love not having to constantly check my rein length. They are, of course, not legal in dressage competition. If you have a horse that's part freight train, like Willow, they're worth a try.
I also switched Willow's bit to a Sprenger WH Ultra loose ring snaffle. It has a little loose roller in the middle link for her to play with, and she seems to like it.
Sam the German shorthair is lame in his front left shoulder. He can bear weight on the leg, but he's obviously very sore. I'm taking him in to the vet tomorrow. Think happy, non-surgical thoughts for us.