I went through my video of the RT@ 1st with EP, the rider biomechanics coach, last night, and as always it was very illuminating. She was pleased with the overall look of the test, my position and effectiveness, and Jet's general carriage and tone. She commented on several really good transitions at all three gaits, and thinks the canter work is looking better, more uphill and engaged. Also, she really liked the stretchy trot circle at the end of the test. So, progress made, but there are a few things that are slightly substandard at 1st Level, that will definitely make 2nd Level hard to impossible if not corrected.
So, on my general position, EP was complimentary, but thinks I am slightly too much in flexion and need to be slightly more in extension. Because I am slightly curled up, I am coming slightly unplugged sometimes, and not able to direct all of the power/energy that Jet offers. She emphasized that I need to be careful not to over correct and lose all the good things I've gained, like tone and plugging in, but that a slight change into extension might help me direct the energy better, which will lead to easier collected work.
EP also agreed that the lengthens were sub-par at both the trot and the canter. She thinks I am too "down" and I am almost squashing the movement by trying so hard. By trying to almost force the lengthen, I am mashing the energy down instead of letting it go forward. She wants me to add a tap with the leg each stride and also think light-up-forward, almost leading Jet into the lengthen. We also talked about the fact he might find it easier to collect a little and the go to a mini medium trot rather than doing a true lengthen which comes from a straight working trot.
Also, she gave me a good exercise to working on plugging in at the canter a bit better. Using the word CANADA and picturing the seat as a backward wheel, the rider emphasizes the CAN-a-da and the quicker the wheel, the faster the horses hind legs step, which leads to that nice collected step in canter. I will be working on this one dismounted quite a bit, I think!
So, there were many more tiny rider corrections that are too numerous to list, but the general direction is good. I think I will play with being slightly more in extension pattern, changing my biomechanics for the lengthens, CAN-a-da for the canter, and start playing with the collection in the RT @2nd level. In a couple of weeks I will video lengthens, shoulder in and haunches in, and some transitions. Then I will video consult with EP to make sure we are on the correct track. I think the test @ 2nd will be a much longer road, but my goal is to have a polished test by late October.