I had a great lesson with Pam. Junior gave me a very good feeling right from the start and my game plan was to show Pam what we accomplished this winter and ensure we are on the right path to Grand Prix. The really collected work is still difficult for Junior, but it's getting better and better by the week. His basic self carriage is really nice and he's happy to be there. Pam agrees with how I'm addressing the pirouette canter and didn't mind that I was going from canter to halt to place his feet side by side, especially to the right. She was also having me canter from the halt with baby steps back to halt. I was going from halt to walk to canter...we'll play around with both to see what achieves the best results.
We were able to play a bit with Junior's understanding of the piaffe being in place and not bringing his legs underneath his belly. I'm going to have to teach him the piaffe more as a circus trick than I'd like, but it may be best in the long run. Maybe I'll teach him in his stall so there's no connection between in-hand work and "work." Maybe he'll piaffe for his dinner and think it's a great game?? He flaps his lips for the leaf blower or vacuum in his mouth, why not wiggle your feet for food?
The best feeling I had was after we'd worked the piaffe, Pam had me go extended trot back to collected, then halt in front of her to take a few steps of up and down with the hind legs to the stick, back to trot right away to extended trot. This was done several times and then Pam yelled, "now passage!" It was the best feeling I've had yet. Junior just offered the passage and danced along light and happy. SO COOL!!!
Here's a link Michelle provided of some of the work at the end of our ride...