The theme of our dressage lesson yesterday was 'expect more'. Izzy knows a lot more than I give her credit for, so I tend to let things slide that I shouldn't. She's still in her 'throwing head in w/t transitions phase'. Cathy had us address that by me holding my outside rein low and steady (think almost side rein) while taking bend with my inside rein. I then focused on riding her hind end, and she did quite nicely after a couple attempts.
We had more rhythm, a slightly higher tempo, more acceptance of the bit, and were overall more connected than we've been in a while. Izzy really is pretty fabulous when I get her working.
I feel like we have plenty to work on until our next lesson. I have some leftover credit from when I was working for Cathy, so I get like 4 lessons free. Hurray!
Also, we have officially borrowed the western saddle and a headstall with reins to play at doing western with. I've been talking to a friend of mine who used to show, so if I can get in enough lessons with Terry this winter, maybe we will go play western pony at a show sometime. My friend has offered to loan me stuff and take pictures. Cross your fingers--it sounds like fun.
As for 'crossing over to the dark side'... I hear you. I've always been the dressage/jumping purist, as evidenced by the fact that I'm still not entirely sure how to put the western saddle on by myself and I think it's way too bloody heavy. However, I'm reconciling myself to the fact that I simply do not and will not have the funds to get the kind of training I want to go the distance I think we can if we stick to eventing only. This is a way for us to have fun together without worrying too much. We're certainly not giving up eventing and I'm super excited for hopefully getting to do some real XC next spring/summer.
Besides, I totally want this. Despite my friend's assurances that it is not in style for showing right now, it's just so totally opposite of anything I would ever normally buy that I'm fascinated by it.