And I rode Sunny!!!
Today's lesson was a little short because we played musical ponies but it was so helpful!! Fleck was a little fussy at first and kept bracing and inverting but I was able to get him to settle down. Right as we were about to start our lesson I had halted him and went to walk off again but he braced. So I "wiggled" his head down, like a bad girl. Cindy came out and showed me that I was close nut not quite correct. Rather than just pulling down with both reins and making him give up the connection, she wanted me to do the crest flip. So I was still maintaining a contact but he wasn't inverted. I was to wiggle the reins but not at the same time... alternating half halts essentially but keeping a connection not just grabbing and throwing it away. And it had to come from the base of his neck and him lifting. We got it! She wanted me to flip the nuchal ligament on his neck, which was a little tough to visualize for me but I think I got it.
So then we kept that visual throughout the ride. Or I tried to anyways. ;) I got a fairly decent trot and then we tried to do centerline to leg yield to the quarter line and then half pass back to the centerline. Our leg yield was quite nice but going to the left especially, the half pass fell apart. I kept pulling the inside (left) rein too much. Cindy showed me a great visual. She stopped me and asked me which direction I wanted his front left foot to go. Left and forward. Okay, what about the right front? Same... left and forward. Then she said that to initiate that and get him to pick up his left shoulder, I did need a little bit of an indirect rein on the left. But what happens if I keep correcting and hang on that left rein, across the neck? Yeah... it throws his shoulders to the right... So she said that he was doing a good job of following my weight aids and going to the left, but his shoulders were flinging out to the right. Aha... So we tried it again with an opening left rein and that was a disaster at first... he kept turning left.
So then Peri suggested I hop on Sunny and she hopped on Fleck. Sunny was good. And man!! Is his trot HUGE! And I know I only had a 10th of it. Egads! But I think I felt the difference. So then I got back on Fleck and tried again. And... the first time I did an opening rein, he went flinging to the left. So then I focused on my seat and initiated the half pass with the indirect rein but then did an opening and then a little indirect and then opening. And yay!!! We got it. It wasn't gorgeous, but it was much more correct and a big step in the right direction. Wahoo!
So yep... an educational day. :) Peri said we'll play musical ponies again sometime soon. :)