Took the girl to the indoor arena today. Did a different warm-up with starting walk and trot on a nice loose rein, then getting down to business after about 5 minutes of loose contact. She seemed to be happier and more relaxed, tracking up more and not "trotting in a teacup". Did some great work over poles! Every time we turned down center line heading towards the poles she zeroed in and understood "this is my job, go over the poles without hitting them". It was great, made me smile to realize she has that knuckle down work attitude.
After a little break after our trot work we went on to do some canter, and that was where the fun began. I know as a fact that she hasn't had much canter work done so it's always a little hit or miss with our leads. Her canter to the left is very pushing upwards, almost like a rabbit, jumping instead of cantering. To the right she does settle down and canter rather nicely once you have her balanced. Also, when we started to do the canter work, that is all she had going on in her mind, just one giant word "CANTER!!".
Our next ride, I'm going to do an exercise that I did quite a bit on my old horse Dillon - transitions on the 20m circle. A transition is made on every quarter of the circle, but not necessarily at the same point nor necessarily the same type of transition. It can be a one step or two step transition, doesn't matter as long as it is done balanced and no anticipation from either horse or rider. It'll be an interesting exercise for both of us! I did a bit of it today, and it seemed to settle her down a bit.
Another point that we need to work on that I think will help everything is to really get her relaxed and forward into contact. I'm not quite sure how to achieve this relaxation, but am willing to hear some ideas!!
Does anyone have an idea how to help a horse relax and stretch down?