Today I had one of those rides. You know when you walk out to the ring to warm up, the pony breathes deeply with his head down, and everything from there on out is "Yes Ma'am, what would you like Ma'am?" When the halts from the seat, the hind quarter and shoulder yields, the leg yields, and the counter bends are great. Even better though, when you move on to harder things like 10 meter trot circles, walk-canter-walk, 15 meter canter circles, and lateral work, these go great as well, and even better yet, the pony is so relaxed he asks to graze (and is allowed to!) under saddle between the hard stuff.
Now don't get me wrong, some of the higher level work is not perfect. The lengthens still need MORE and the counter-canter is very much a work in progress. Still, the relaxation and try on this horse after just a couple of rides more focused on gymnastic work at 1st to 2nd Level is just amazing. To be able to get quality, energetic, difficult work but then transition to a stretched out trot easily (or a quick graze!) is still just astounding to me. Never thought I'd get there with this horse. Thank you Dressage Naturally.