Friday night, we repeated the work of the night before. Much to my delight, I found that I could get nice round trot to canter transitions immediately on demand via a quick series of aids. A shift in my weight, a little more inside bend, inside leg forward, outside leg quiet, no pressure applied. While not the final aids I want, they will do for the moment to help make the transitions more reliable. Shifting to new aids will come with time.
After I rode Piper, I asked a student if she wanted to try him. She had ridden very well in a lesson earlier and stayed to watch me work Piper. So, why not?
Piper has had many riders over the years. He has been ridden bareback at all gaits by one of our staff, hacked on the trails, schooled over small jumps, and done a bit of dressage training with me. However, he is not "push button" nor can he be called a schoolmaster. Anyone riding him has to have a fair level of skill to be successful.
So, this young woman, after only a moment of deliberation, agreed to try him out. And sure enough, what a star he was!
Piper works in a big fat KK "nugget" bit, the same one I started him in. He has the softest mouth I've ever felt and likes to go round on soft contact. Consistent with this, he gave the rider a lovely feel in the trot and a wonderful image in the mirror for her to enjoy.
But maybe best of all, when she asked for a little less trot, she was able to find a trot that allowed her to discover more about how to successfully sit the trot. She was able to feel his hind legs reaching under her, lifting, and pushing. She was able to follow his back and suddenly found herself sitting the trot instead of bouncing the trot.
And I got to see Piper in motion under a dressage rider. What a pretty picture!