I've been making a habit of watching Windsor get worked by my trainer on Wednesdays, and it's been really helpful - not only to see him go, but also to hear her narrate her ride.
This week wasn't a huge school by any means, but it was still a good one. I know last week I was saying that our #1 goal is getting him to land and move up. That is still a good goal, and important, but we are noticing that there are two considerations with that -
1) the harder you ride him the more he braces and almost backs off... which is... not helpful
2) The harder you ride, the more likely he is to swap off his lead.
For a while we thought this swapping was mostly a preference to be on his right lead. But some thinking has shown that he basically just wants to be on the counter lead, in between lines regardless of direction. (so, going left he swaps right, going right he swaps, or lands, left).
I sorta prefer that since it suggests is more of a balance issue than a lameness or weakness... but it's still a bit confusing.
It's possible that there wasn't much attention paid to his leads (or balance) in his previous job so he's just invented his own way of going that's easiest for him. Those might be somewhat difficult habits to break.. but we are working on it.
I'm tempted to try setting some lines across the diagonal and see if he's as likely to swap without the "support" of the walls to guide his leads... we'll see.
Anyway, here's your Windsor spam. Quick clips of trot and canter- then work over fences. I tried to include the swapping clips for future evidence :)
Oh yeah, and we added some flowers to a fence thinking he'd wig out.
Did. Not. Notice. (good boy).
It's nice to be able to take my observations from watching and apply them to my own lessons. Makes everything just a *touch* more tangible.
Yesterday's ride was lovely - I worked on doing less and just "supporting" more, which was a good mindset for me to be in, and we reaped the rewards in terms of only having one horrendous jump, instead of like.... six. ;)