We did some half passes in canter. Olli wanted me to really use the corner to set him up with an active hind leg, really sitting, neck up and shoulder slightly in. Then just ride the diagonal with the shoulders leading and add some haunches. He wants much more bend than I'm used to asking for. It's hard with Four Seasons to bend him more without over flexing him. And when he over flexes, he pulls and falls on the forehand.
We then did some pirouettes which are really incredible. He wants me to activate him with a quick outside leg to keep the canter jumping. He sits almost too much and then he slows the tempo down a bit too much.
Next was trot work, and phew, this horse exhausts me to sit. Because he has such an enormous trot, I tend to hold with my thighs so that I don't get launched out of the saddle each stride. But then I can't really sit into him when I'm gripping with my thighs too much. Olli kept telling me to give a bigger half halt as I'm activating his hind legs. But he is so forward that when I use my leg he shoots forward and is then a million pounds in the hand. Luckily we went soon to passage and piaffe. This gets him listening to the half halts and sitting and light again in the hand. He, like Salcido, is so talented for both piaffe and passage and is really fun to practice the transitions. Olli wanted me to ride a few steps of on the spot piaffe, then out to passage for only 3 or 4 strides, then piaffe again, then out, etc. This way he stays sitting in the passage and doesn't shoot out or pull himself apart with too big a passage with the front legs.
Then back to canter very briefly to feel the balance and activity with him really, really straight. We did a couple good single changes, where I had to think about keeping exactly the same rhythm. Not bigger in the changes since he's so forward but always in front of the leg and up in front so he's not leaning on me.
Next Olli said I was to ride Dellenger. I told you! They will have me ride him every day now, I bet. But that's fine with me, because I really do like him. I still rode him in the draw reins, since that's what they wanted, but I didn't use them today. I did a loosening warm up outside and then came in and did basically the same. Olli was very happy with him. I still have no idea how much training this horse has, so I thought they just wanted a loosening day. But right as I was leaving, Olli said, "Let's do some piaffe." Well, ok! He wanted him to just practice the initial steps, so we collected the walk, asked for piaffe for a few steps then walk 3 or 4 steps, then piaffe, then walk, etc. He really wanted him on the spot, no moving forward. I asked him if he wanted me to really sit down into him like I was *trying* to do with Four Seasons. He said it depends on the horse. With this horse, he brings the hind legs way under himself, so he thinks I should sit lighter. With a horse that doesn't engage the hind leg this well, then sit into him more.
He told me, "he can really piaffe, huh?" Uh... yeah!! But then he said, "Yeah, that's the only thing he does well." Aww, poor Dellenger. I said I thought he would also take very good pictures since he is so handsome. He agreed that yes, he could be a blanket model. This did not seem to amuse him.
I like Dellenger a lot, so it's just fine with me if they want to me ride him every day. ;)
Tomorrow is Saturday, and Olli will be at a show in Münster. We get to move out of the small hotel room and into our guest cottage tomorrow (yay!!!!!!! An office for Jonathan, a separate room for Daniel, and a kitchen, so I don't gain 25 lbs with all this heavy German food!) I was planning to just go watch the show tomorrow but Olli said I could ride Four Seasons and, you guessed it, Dellenger in the morning. Then he added very casually, "You will also ride Floriscount, yes?" Yes, yes I will. Eeeee! I'm like a little kid in a candy shop (or a certain little boy when he sees a bus...)
This afternoon Daniel and I both got some kind of food poisoning. I'll be damned if I'm going to miss riding Floriscount tomorrow, so I'm hoping I feel all better in the morning. Daniel seems much better already and was full of smiles in between bouts of puking. Such a sweet boy.
Then tomorrow afternoon maybe we can go to the show, or I might just wait till Sunday. Tomorrow is a foal auction in the morning and then riding horse auction starting at 1. Should be interesting, but I would rather see the finals for young horses, which will happen Sunday. I'll bring Jonathan's good camera to try to take some decent pics.
Thanks to everyone for the well wishes!