As we cantered toward the center line, turning from the long side, I felt my horse nicely on my seat and in the reins. I steadied us, a momentary hold with reins, my legs, and my seat. I felt my horse soften and as I released the steadying half-halt he transitioned to a light-footed halt. Wow! I patted Harley's neck and he remained motionless. Has someone been practicing when I am not around?
We tried it again a couple more times using a three-loop serpentine. Every attempt was not perfect. We still lose our balance and add a few shuffling trot steps in sometimes, but when we've got it, we've got it. Harley can transition down to halt or walk from the canter. Dare I say that we accomplished a couple simple changes? The dressage kind through walk. Surprisingly, he seems pretty happy with the downward transition and more anxious about the upward transition. He relaxes into the halt or walk. I still have to get the aiding right to keep him walking after the transition. It seems to be easier for him to just halt. What I like the most, is that I can release the rein, and if we have the balance, he remains steady and finishes the downward transition without any need for the rein. Don't get me wrong. I do need to support him with a strong half-halt to initiate the transition, but then he can carry it through. I am so proud of Harley!
After a walk transition, he was so feisty before the next canter. I had to tell him walk-walk-walk and encourage softness and a four-step gait with my seat and legs. Only when he stopped trying to prance did I allow him to canter. He gets pretty tense in anticipation, so that is something that we can definitely work on. He likes to get on with it rather than wait. I have to learn to wait with my body. I tend to creep forward myself. I love his exuberance, though. Some of those prancy steps feel like something that could be half-steps. I have always thought that about him. He just packages himself and I know it is in there. He has the personality to match the energy required, though maybe not always the relaxation.
Harley is just so much fun to ride. He is the perfect horse for me.