I'm so sore today. I don't know what happened yesterday, but both my husband and I have serious neck pain today. I know how he got his... I bounce his head like a basketball when I wake him in the mornings. ha.
All I know is I got off Ava last night, and immediately my shoulder and neck started killing me. It's been non-stop since. But whatever. Real Dressage riders Ride. :)
The ride tonight went okay. I couldn't find my seat to save my life during the warm up. Flopping around like a wet sock up there. My poor pony! I did finally get it together enough to center myself and we got down to some work, but it wasn't anything eye popping or great. We did work on our walk/canter transitions. I've dabbled with them a bit previously and they were horrendous. Terrible. It stressed Ava out and made her into a board that refused to relax. So I stowed that one in the closet until today. I feel she's got the muscle and balance that she can at least begin to work on those. I wasn't asking for perfect, just a relaxed effort on her part.
Since Ava has her little quirk about legs behind the girth (it's getting a little better), I've had to train her to canter by using my seat only. I've found this to be something I could not wrap my brain around - the mechanics of the seat motion without interfering or inhibiting her movement. What usually happens is I screw her up, but she's a good girl and gives me a canter anyway (the saint). Not without a lot of head tossing and snarly looks though. ;) Anyway, the other day I was reading a web site about teaching flying changes, and part of it was talking about the mechanics of the seat and aids when asking for the flying change. To paraphrase: the feeling is the same as if you were taking one big step forward (say your left leg) and brought your left arm up to shoulder level at the same time (before your foot started its journey toward the ground again). That feel in your hip, of going forward is similar to what the aid for the canter should be. So if you're going left - it'd be your left hip; going right - your right hip.
I practiced the weird walk at home so that my neighbors could snicker and point at me (I like to keep them entertained). I tried it on Ava today, and it helped. She was less fussy, and more forward in the initial depart. Practicing that also prevented me from tossing my upper body around, and keeping my body in alignment. The great news is we actually got several decent walk/canter - canter/walk transitions today! So we stopped there and went for a short walk down the lane and then home for a full body scrubbing and a roll in the grass.