So, I've been beavering away, solidifying my new more effective position, getting good work out of the pony, and thinking about how to put all the pieces in place to put together a polished Rider Test at Second Level this year. Since I'm not off the farm showing, and my video dressage showing web site shut down, I feel like it helps to have some goals other than showing to keep things progressing.
I've come to the conclusion that even though we have started to work on some of the easier bits of collection like collecting transitions and some basic lateral work and it's been going pretty well, the basic connection needs to be a bit better before we do much more collection. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled with Jet's outline(no wrong bend in the neck!), lengthens(he has them!), stretch at the trot(true stretch down AND out!) but there are a few small things like shoulder fore, straightness in the leg yields, and canter transitions that can be a bit better.
We've spent the past couple of weeks working on connecting half halts, connecting transitions, quality leg yields, and honest lengthenings. The canter still needs a little more connection/horizontal balance but it is getting there, and we had an honest to gosh connecting half halt where I felt him step under, push into my vertical power line, and shift his balance back with a more compressed collected horse. Two steps in a row! Yeah!
So, progress is being made with some quality First Level work going on. The pony is happy in his work with a swinging back, forward, and seeking my contact. I want the canter a bit more polished and then I want to re-film the Rider Test at First Level. There were several things I felt were lacking in last year's test(scroll through the archives for a view) and because I am compulsive I want to fix those things before we move on to the next level. Also, everything should be easier AND more correct for Second Level, the better the quality of the First Level Test.
I am also going to post my video on Dressage for Adult Amatuers on Facebook for a critique. This will be interesting I think, with hopefully, some valuable feedback!