Over the weekend Koda and I went back to our favourite (not really...) shape - the circle.
On Saturday, it was all about the spiral in-out, leg yields in and out, and working on movements from the Entry level dressage tests (Canada). The movements are all fairly simple, but I have a tough time coming out of the canter and keeping the trot at a decent rhythm along the long side. It doesn't help that Koda is naturally a push ride, but I should just get my riding together and ride it right. One weird thing that was happening was every time I asked for the canter on the last quarter of the 20m circle, Koda would pick up the incorrect lead. In both directions. I worked on the circles a few times, and we still couldn't get it so I stopped to just figure it out. When I was riding Dillon, I would sometimes get into this thing of trying too hard and pushing too hard (read - TENSE) to the point of pissing him off. Figured that this was happening again with Koda, so just thought to myself, just canter the circle. It's not THAT complicated.
Voila - correct leads, both sides.
Sigh, why do we make things more difficult for ourselves?
Sunday was all about the circles. How many circles? Pretty sure we didn't ride a long-side the entire ride. Warmed up with some very nice serpentines with turns on the haunches (from walk) tossed in for fun. He's great off the right leg, not so much on the left. Went into a 10m circle exercise within a 20m circle. While you ride a 20m circle, in each quarter, ride a 10m circle. Really worked on the connection, and keeping a consistent shape and bend on the smaller circles. When doing this exercise, I WISH I had an outdoor arena, or even letters spray painted in the grass to help keep my circles round. Instead of letters, I use random points in the field for reference, whether it's a small patch of tall grass, a poop pile, or a large yellow cone. Koda was awesome going to the left, much more consistent than going to the right. When we go right, he wants to fall out of the outside aids. After working through that and getting some lovely trot work, we moved onto canter figure eights. Absolutely LOVELY! Leads were great, circles were great, had to work to keep the right lead circle as a 20m, simple changes were good. Was so happy with Koda after those :)
To finish the ride, I dropped my stirrups and did the same exercises for about 15 minutes. From what my body is telling me now, I need to do more no stirrups!!