We started with warming Ringo up at the trot while focusing on maintaining a steady, active tempo but being able to change his outline from stretchy to more 'up' without resistance. You can see us working on it here:
We then did the same thing at the canter:
From there, we went to work on something that I've been struggling with recently: the shoulder in. I know that I've been struggling because my position has been failing me somewhere, but working on my own I haven't had a great idea of what I was doing wrong or how to fix it.
Kim immediately picked out a few key things for me to fix: my wandering left wrist, which tends to get very curled and turned over; my too-mobile lower leg, which is caused by not being totally engaged with my seat; and my shoulders, which tend to collapse to the left. This was a lot to work on! Here was an early shoulder in attempt:
He was getting stiff in some of the 10m circles because I was getting stiff in my body and collapsing to the inside. By being a stronger in my body, there was some notable improvement:
After a quick break (more for me than for Ringo, as I was feeling the burn from the improvements to my position Kim was giving me!), we moved on to the canter to work on some simple change, as we will be showing 2nd level this weekend where those are required.
Kim had me start out by develop some of the most collected canter I've ever gotten out of Ringo. I thought we were off to work on some pirouettes for a second! When we did second level last fall, I definitely was not able to produce this level of collected canter at any time, let alone in a test in order to produce a good simple change.
Overall, Kim was super complimentary of Ringo's improvements in the past year, commenting that he looked like a different horse. It's great to hear that my homework has been paying off! Now if I could get my riding back to the level I want it, we'd really be cooking with gas.
I'm a little nervous for this weekend, but am excited to get back in the show ring again. Let's go, Ray!!