The first day of the clinic was a tad rushed to begin with since it was right after work and I wasn't sure who was going to be trailering us over since I had a friend lined up to come get us, but turned out the BO could take her trailer so there was some very fast texting/calling made to iron things out. We got to the arena in plenty of time, which was nice since Koda had gotten himself completely filthy, the turkey. We groomed and tacked up and started our re-introduction ride with Kathy.
It was a nice lesson, somewhat basic, but got you really thinking about foot placement, timing, and complete control of the horse with the aids. We did a lot of walk/trot work, keeping things slow but being a lot more meticulous as to where the horse's hooves were falling. One of the girls in the group does not know much about lateral work at all, so Kathy was taking time aside to explain to her leg-yield, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, and shoulder/haunches-in while the BO and I practised our turns. Once we had exhausted the lateral work, we went on to canter work. It was kind of fun since the exercise we were doing was one I learned a VERY long time ago when I first started to ride at a lesson barn in Ontario. The exercise was a canter figure-8 with simple lead change, halt at the beginning and end.
When I was learning to ride, the barn I rode at always had a spring in-house show for all the lesson kids. It was GREAT fun, and always ended up being a wonderful outing since all the families would come out, everyone would be shined up and dressed in our show best. For lunch, most people would pack picnics and eat out on the lawns. The classes were always separated in levels, A (being the highest) to C (lowest) then walk-trot classes. Everyone always knew what the equitation tests would be for each class since we had been practising them in our lessons. The test for A was always, without fail, the canter figure 8. That figure was drilled into us, making sure we pick our correct center for the 8 (move it down a touch since the horses are lined up at the end of the arena), which lead to go on first (always end on your worst lead since it's easier to get from a trot than a halt/walk), a longer trot through the middle to make it straight is better than to have less steps but drift, squirm, miss the centre, etc. Koda was a champ, but we had issues getting the left lead. He actually gave me a lovely canter to halt transition, nice and square.
The last exercise we did was choosing leads on center line. We didn't have a problem getting the left lead (interesting since on the figure 8 it was the harder lead...), but couldn't for the life of us get the right lead, which he'll generally take. What we discovered was I was over-cueing with my right leg to help shift the shoulders over (bad rider, bad!). So instead of thinking of moving the shoulders over, we changed our thinking process to moving the haunches over using left leg. First time, not a problem.
This is why I love doing these simple exercises, to find the holes in my equitation, where I need to really be aware of how much pressure I'm using to cue, etc.
Sorry for the lack of photos and video! The SO couldn't make it out, but I promise there will be some for days 2 and 3.