Was it the most flashy trot or the most forward trot? No. But it was the most consistent trot. How did we get this marvelous thing called connection you ask? Through shoulder fore!
My lesson started out with PJ the slug, most likely because he had gotten used to the slower trot I had yesterday for “without stirrups day.” After getting him to move out a little, Barbara had me do shoulder-fore. I started it as we made the turn to the long-side. She told me to use a lot of inside leg and outside rein, turning my shoulders in. It was very hard not to turn his neck in too much and to actually get him to turn his shoulders in. It felt like much more of a shoulder-in than it looked in the mirrors. After that, I was able to keep his inside hind under him much better just going around the ring.
It felt so… effortless to keep him into contact like that. It felt like a real partnership to ride that way. I was softer in my aids. I could keep myself straight. He was happier and just went. Today’s ride is what I picture dressage is supposed to be but why is it so damn hard to get it?!