For Wednesday's lesson, I rode Chester with a new pad I got him, a black Roma sheepskin pad. It worked well; the saddle didn't slip at all and it looks nice with his brown saddle. Meghan lunged him before I got on because he hadn't been ridden since Friday(I rode Ronnie Monday). When he was done bucking and cantering to burn off some of his extra energy, I mounted and began riding him around in the dressage arena, trotting in a figure eight pattern.
I had to work a lot on keeping Chester on the circle and going all the way to the points, while at the same time turning his head slightly to the inside. It is hard work to use your leg to keep him on the circle and takes a lot of coordination. There were times when I didn't make it all the way to the points, or found myself using a little outside rein to keep Chester on the circle, which in turn brought his head to the outside. I got a little better at it as I continued but it is still something I need to practice.
Cantering. I'm coming out of the saddle a bit.
On one part of the figure, about midway through the lesson, Chester spooked at something, and Meghan quickly told me to turn him in a tight circle, which I did. I managed to stay on, but I need to work on taking control when I horse I'm riding spooks rather than holding on.
I continued on the figure eight, continuing to work on turning Chester's head to the inside while using my leg to push him to the points. Next, I trotted around the dressage arena, rode across several diagonals, then made a circle left at C. I pushed Chester into a big trot as I started the circle, then asked for the canter when I reached C. It was great! I'm getting more comfortable cantering and better at sitting deep in the saddle.
This looks much better. I love this picture.
Walking at the end
After that, I made a fast circle at A, heading right, and cantered the whole circle. I ended the lesson with the dressage test as it is written, with cantering. I had to redo the circle right at A a couple times, because I cantered in a too small circle at first. The next two times he only trotted quickly. When I gave Chester more of a squeeze and loosened the reins more, he cantered nicely. The canter for the left circle at A, however, was good and immediate. Even the downward transition was smooth! I'm getting much better at cantering now.