The second ride this week went much better than the first ride.
Cisco's brain was back in his head. My stirrups were back where they belonged (and now felt too long). The Pixio was all charged up.
The return of Cisco's brain was helped by the presence of other horses in the arena. That always makes a difference for him.
He started out pretty fussy at a trot but I didn't worry about it and just kept riding. We did some work on walk/transitions, and had some decent ones. They were definitely better when I asked for the trot from my seat instead of my legs - I must remember to ask for it that way.
I had set up poles down the centerline of the arena in a zigzag pattern with a couple of exercises in mind.
The first was a simple canter pattern, looping back over in figure 8 style with simple changes. I wanted to do lots of transitions since he's been getting sticky lately with them, and I wanted to work on an approach to the poles in 2 point.
My 2 point is not strong these days. I haven't done very much of it. And Cisco is bouncy - possibly the bounciest canter I've ever ridden. I don't feel it when I'm sitting in the saddle, but in 2 point I feel like I go straight up and down. I haven't figured out if he gets bouncier when I'm in 2 point because of my lack of balance or if that's just his canter.
Thankfully, the video didn't look nearly as bad as it felt. Because it felt like a hot mess. Correction - I felt like a hot mess. Cisco wasn't terrible - he even gave me a flying change. I felt like I was bouncing all over the place at a canter, and flopping all over in the downward transition.
So, yeah. Need to work on that.
The other exercise I wanted to do was one that I found on a Facebook group called Equestrian Pole Club, which has a purpose of posting ideas on pole/jump exercises. There are some good ideas on there, but far too many posts these days since every rider in England seems to be a member of the group and they have a lot of time on their hands at the moment. I totally recommend joining, but you might want to unfollow right away so that you don't end up with your wall full of posts you don't really want to see.
Anyhoo, the exercise uses the same zigzag configuration of poles. At a walk, you step over the first pole, halt, do a turn on the forehand towards the next pole, walk over it, halt, and repeat. Not a tough exercise, but a slow and steady one.
I found it worked really well to emphasize the half halt with the outside rein. You only take about 3 steps of walk before halting again, ideally with the outside rein. Then I'd sit on my inside seat bone to ask for the turn (from a dressage lesson last summer), and Cisco would fill out the outside rein, I'd ask for the halt again, and walk forward.
This is the kind of exercise that I'd return to multi-times through the ride I think. It was a good reminder of the half-halt for the horse and made everything slow down.
The video has one of our canter courses, the turn on the forehand exercise, and some trot towards the end of the ride when it got better. These were about the only highlights of the ride - but it was way better than the day before!