Chapiro had a couple of days off (well he had worked 8 days straight and I had a lot on) but yesterday we were back in the school and then walked down the hill to the bottom field. On the way back up we trotted on a long rein where we have cantered but he stayed balanced in body and brain, no rushing or anticipation. We continued up the lane past the house and he seemed quietly confident, didn't go far on my own but he behaved well. The only niggly bit being his trot transitions in the school which remained a little 'sticky'.
So today, in the rain (is this really me, riding in the rain?) we worked on keeping a really relaxed neck through the transitions and keeping his head a little lower than usual and it made a big difference. We ended up riding relaxed transitions on long, long reins but with his back working, it felt good.
So is my boy finally relaxing? I hate to speak too soon but this last week his confidence has emerged and I can count the spooks on one hand rather than on all fingers and toes! He is walking boldly down to the school and even me whacking by boot on the fence today didn't induce even the merest spook.
I'm thinking that when Steinbrecht said ''ride your horse forward and straight of shoulders'' he was very wise and that maybe when l'Hotte said the horse should be ''calm, forward and straight' it could have read ''forward and straight (by virtue of the shoulders) will bring on calm''! This certainly seems to be true of Chapiro, the straightening work is bringing along the gift of calm...or let's hope so.