So, I’m trying to keep my heels down and not compromise my position to get PJ to go and not have to beat him up to get him to go. Today I came up with an exercise that seems to help me achieve this goal. (It didn’t hurt that Bridget rode him yesterday, so he was a little more up than after a few days of me riding him)
The exercise is pretty simple. I go back and forth on a short diagonal – say from R to V. I trot the diagonal asking PJ to go forward. When I get to the wall, I half-halt and break to a walk. Keeping PJ on his hind end, I make the tight (180 deg) turn. As I come out of the turn and face the opposite letter I ask PJ to trot off. I get to the opposite wall and repeat. I would like to advance where instead of doing a transition to walk to make the turn that I can just half-halt and get him to collect his trot enough to make the sharp turn.
Aiming for the wall naturally causes PJ to collect himself a little. It’s my job to keep him on his hind end for the 180 deg turn and if I don’t, it’s very obvious because he can’t make it small like what I’m asking. Since he’s on his hind end for the turn, he more easily goes forward into the trot for the diagonal. Using a short diagonal instead of a long diagonal prevents PJ from loosing impulsion.
I’m going to play with this some more and keep you posted.