Back when we were working towards First Level, Guinness was so crooked that we couldn't get a straight leg yield to save our lives. Steady work on increasing his flexibility and his ability to come through evenly helped me to straighten out our leg yields. Even so, we still had issues. While responsive off my leg when it comes to going sideways, Guinness tends to lose his forward activity. It's always been a struggle to keep his impulsion in the movement.
Beyond the leg yield, shoulder-in, travers, and renvers feel somewhat magical. As our Second Level work has gotten much better, Guinness' flexibility has leapt forward. These movements have become less about creating the angle, and are now entirely about containing the angle and creating more expression and flexion. There's something much more fun about asking for more as opposed to begging to create some.
Now we are working on starting the half pass, and all of those lateral movements are coming together to create the most fun movement of all. Guinness is naturally as good at the half pass as he was terrible at the leg yield. In the half pass, the bend to the direction of movement forces me to manage his shoulders more effectively, and keeps him from falling into the movement. As those were our biggest problems in the leg yield, the half pass feels easy.
With the shoulder issues better managed, I feel free to ask for more forward. In fact, forward probably remains our biggest problem in the half pass. Guinness is very good at going sideways. But, he loses his impulsion. For me the half pass work has been all about keeping the sideways very shallow, and the forward very exaggerated.
So fun. I can't wait to see how we improve over the year!
Click for link to video (video footage from November)