I had a super lesson this morning. We didn't do anything fancy--just trot and canter on a twenty-meter circle, but we got Willow as light as she's ever been, and the half-halts were going through all the way. I can tell, because Willow grunts when she receives an effective half-halt. It's cute.
Earlier in the week I had noticed that dye from the saddle was not coloring the full-seat of my new breeches evenly. My right leg was quite dark, and my left not much at all. A clue! Willow tends to want to lock on the left rein when tracking right, and bulge her rib cage when tracking left. Obviously, I'm not using that left leg effectively. I mentioned this to my trainer today, and she was happy I noticed and brought it to her attention. You can't fix something if you don't realize you're doing it.
When Willow is sucking back, she gets incredibly wormy. Leslie variously describes her as an octopus and a blowfish. All her energy starts trying to shoot out in every direction, and she gets very wide with her legs. It used to be a huge problem, but I'm getting better and better at feeling when she tries to suck back and sending her forward.
At the end of the lesson the canter was just super. Willow was actually asking me to shorten the reins, she was so up in front. This is a first! Also, she gets kudos for maintaining focus while a nutty four-year-old kicked up his heels, first on the lunge and then under saddle. Good mare.
One more ride tomorrow, and then she gets Tuesday off while I buzz up to Portland to see Flogging Molly.