Monday, March 3, 2014

Flying changes!

Soonie has flying changes in BOTH directions! :-D

 I decided to play with them tonight for the hell of it.  I wasn't expecting much (I had ridden a flying change on him back when we couldn't pick up the right lead canter, so I knew they're there somewhere).  We started off on the right lead, short diagonal turn and swap to the left.  Nailed it.  Big praise for Mr. Smarty Pants, and tried it to the right.  I lost his hind end trying to get the right swap (not surprised, right lead is his bad side anyway), so we tried again left lead canter off a shorter diagonal turn, and I leg yielded off the right leg for three strides before I asked with my new outside (left) leg for the swap.  BAM!  Clean change to the right lead!  We went on and did another clean left lead change, and then once more to the right lead.  Three clean swaps in a row, all thanks to that handy little leg yield.  He didn't rush and he didn't get flustered at all.  GOOD BOY!   I praised him so loud I think I might have scared the lesson kids.  :-D   The key with him just seems to be straight and forward, with a couple strides of leg yield to set him up.  I won't drill these, but we'll visit from time to time just to make sure they're confirmed.  I am SO happy with him!

(And to those of you thinking, "Of course he has swaps, he's a racehorse, all the good ones have changes installed from the track," shhhhhhh.  I'm excited.  This is exciting for me, so I am being excited.  Not having to spend a lot of time on canter-walk-canter transitions and building up to changes from scratch is pretty much amazing to me right now)

Add in the fact that his stretch work has been nothing short of stellar the last week or two, and you can color me thrilled.  He's been forward (trying to get more step out of him in the trot), soft, leg yields off the center and quarter lines while still in stretch, overall just really nailing his long and low work.  Here are some screen shots from the video back in January for visual aids:

He's still my sweet, sleepy Bubba  :)  <3

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