We warmed up using transitions within the gaits and talked again about how we are the trainers of our horse. They need to respond to light aids and know that they'll get a release of pressure when they respond correctly. Being in front of leg was a big deal all weekend. It's a simple concept, but it's not always easy.
The group concentrated on cavaletti exercises for quite a long time. The lesson started with three fanned out cavaletti ridden over on a circle at the walk and trot. Everyone had to concentrate on maintaining bend through the caveletti and making sure the horse's were using themselves. It helped us start thinking about the "bouncy" feeling of a connected trot or canter. Then we moved on to cantering a short cavaletti bounce. I felt like my dressage lesson helped me to think about using my seat and thighs for straightness and turning because we did quite well the cavaletti exercises. In order to get and maintain the bouncy canter through the poles, I had to lighten Tiamo and have him hold it without trying to pull and use the reins to keep it slow. We would shorten for the bounce then canter on a few strides and come back again. After that, we all did the bounce cavaletti, circled back around and did a forward diagonal one stride, right turn back to a short one stride made of flower boxes.
The jumping began by cantering a vertical and oxer in the steady two stride line then putting the two together and using placement poles within the line. We ended on the two stride to a long 4-stride done in 5, back to the forward one stride cavaletti, and the short 1-stride flower boxes. I had to concentrate on keep Tiamo straight and riding him light and forward up to the base of the jumps.
A phrase Allison told me a lot both days was "Lighten and soften him". When he is light and soft then I can add leg to the fence and ride forward to the closer distances. The thing that became clear is my need to work on staying strong, waiting, and adding leg in the closer spots instead of 1) Leaving strides out or 2) Tipping, taking my foot off the gas pedal so to speak, and jumping weakly off the ground.