Well, renvers is still really hard. Louie doesn't much care for it, as he really has to work, and he's a bit on the lazy side. Not only that but counter-bending and renvers is counter intuitive. Tonight we worked on counter-bending and then renvers. We didn't make much progress in our single ride since our last lesson (since it was over Christmas), but we did improve the canter depart by maybe a tiny little smidgen.
We started out working just like always, round, bent, forward, on the bit, etc. We then fairly quickly jumped into counter bending on a circle. Julie had us spiral in on the circle, keeping an outside bend while making our circle smaller and smaller, then on the way back out again (circle getting larger), take the correct bend and allow Louie to stretch out and down.
After a few drills like this we transitioned into working on our renvers at the walk and trot (including the transitions). Louie didn't much care for this and while we had moments of somewhat decent renvers, it overall just looked like an uphappy horse with a dumb jockey who didn't know what she was doing, so Julie hopped on to see if she could figure out what our issues were. She discovered a few things: Louie is pretty patient and tolerant of everything we put him through, renvers is very hard for him, and lastly, he is dull to my aids to transition upward. Okay, so let me get this out on the table, I'm supposed to be transitioning upward simply by sliding my seat slightly forward (just my inside seat bone for the canter) and just keeping my legs in position, but not using them. Louie has never transitioned like this, especially into the canter, so before my next lesson, I've got to work on teaching him that his new cue is in my seat bones.
I got back on and we worked a little bit more on renvers, then changing the bend and cantering. We had one or two decent transitions tonight, so I felt happy about that. We also had a few little buck/hops that I can't blame Louie for in the least. This stuff is really hard.
Lucky for me, Lisa is great with the video camera so she got a nice video of our lesson. I have a feeling I'll watch this a few times to try to pick out the differences between the way Julie rode and I rode.
I think in the next week I'm going to go back a bit to our usual "pre-renvers" riding and try to work on the transitions and get that nice low neck and forward round trot back again. When we work on renvers this week, I'm going to try it along a straight-away, and I'm only going to ask him for a few strides at a time, as I think I'll be able to teach him better in shorter intervals where we take a break to praise him for his hard work. I don't think we've back tracked, in fact, I think we're super advanced from where we were at our first lesson, but this lesson unfortunately mostly only shows the frustrated, high-headed pissed off Louie, not the beautiful floaty round Louie that I've become accustomed to seeing in the mirrors. . . I guess that means we'll have to have another video!