One of the things we’ve been working most on is shoulder-in to the right. He’s heavy on the left rein (ok, I hang on the left rein) but I have a hard time getting him solidly into the right rein. Enter shoulder in. Unfortunately, Paddy has a really hard time going this direction. He can do a leg-yield quite nicely, but asking for the minimal crossover that’s required of a shoulder in is just a hard concept for him. In reality, he knows what I want, but getting the LH working properly is just hard, since it’s his weaker hind leg. He often responds by either walking during an attempted trot shoulder-in, or getting a little light in the front end. I’ve always sent him forward when he gets a little light, because I don’t want him to think that picking his front feet up off the ground is an acceptable evasion.
So yesterday evening Fuzzypony and I were working in our grass arena, and Paddy and I were having a little discussion about left shoulder in. I felt him get a little light, so I sat up and closed my leg… and suddenly his butt dropped about two inches and his shoulder came up another two, and he was doing the most amazing elevated trot! It happened so quickly I wasn’t sure what to do, just kept my leg on, and then we were – not even joking – trotting in place! Y’all, I have never done a piaffe before, but Fuzzypony swears that’s what Paddy was doing. He felt so powerful under me – back up, haunches under him, like I could move him any way with just a thought… absolutely an amazing feeling. Fuzzypony tried to get her camera out to get it on video, but he only did it for a few steps before he downshifted to walk. And of course since I had NO idea what I was doing, I couldn’t get him to do it again - which is probably for the best, since piaffe is not a required movement in Training Level Test 3.
Even adorable when he's evading.
I’ve already talked to hubby about sending Paddy to my dressage trainer to be put into training full-time. He’s humoring me, I think. Obviously we have about a million miles to go between our rides this weekend and an actual Grand Prix test, but maybe he’s got the talent to do it?
Public Service Announcement: Paddington reminds you that you should never believe everything you read on the Interwebz, especially given that today is April 1. ;)