I've been getting busy on the exercises that Katie gave me for Coriander: I've been using circles and shoulder-fore to try to get a specific canter lead, the canter cue is good but getting the left lead is still a bear. I'll get him bent nicely to the left, cue the canter, and he sneaks that right shoulder out almost every time. I've seen this horse pick up the left lead canter fluidly without me on his back, so I don't think it's a physical issue- which would point to me being the issue except that when I'm on the friesian right lead canter is harder. Conundrums.
I've got some cones set up in my makeshift field ring to work on the square/turn on the forehand exercise. I took Gwen with me to set them up on Sunday, and for the first time ever she was fine going that far away from the herd by herself (squee!)! I'm so proud of her, she's been doing so well lately. Trotting under saddle has become her new favorite thing, which means that she's done a lot of "I'm going to trot now" transitions without me. I made the mistake of rewarding her the very first time she spontaneously offered trot so now she thinks she'll get rewarded for it every time. I'll have to remember not to click her for spontaneously offering canter. We've been doing a lot of trot/walk transitions lately, I don't want to squash her forward but I can't have her running off without me either. Horse training- not as easy as you'd think!
The other thing I've been working on with Coriander is jaw flexions. I've been merging info from a couple of different sources for this: Katie, Mark Russell, Mike Schaffer, and JME's excellent post here. We've been making progress at the halt, he's started softening and dropping his head as soon as I pick up the reins, but moving it's a different story- he immediately braces against me. We have a lot more work to do there.
It bothers me that there isn't more information available about jaw flexions, it seems like they're a basic tenet of classical dressage, Baucher was big on them, yet it's like no one talks about it, much less films it and puts it on YouTube. Seriously, this cruddy video is the only one I can find.
Plus, since no one is talking about it they don't tell you that weird stuff can happen. On Saturday I worked on flexions with Coriander and then asked him to walk off. Five strides later his front legs buckled like he was going to roll, I leaped off and kept him from going all the way down (no WAY is he rolling on my Ansur), but I couldn't get over how odd it was for him to do that. Then I found this video of a horse reacting to jaw flexions (the action starts at 19 seconds):
Was his attempt to roll a reaction to the jaw flexions? Poor boy, there I was mad at him for what might have been a neurological response.
I'll have some more information about these elusive flexions soon...
PS- please let me know if that obnoxious word verification thing comes up. I meant to get rid of that.