January 19, 2012 Lesson with Tracy. Did a lot of work on transitions and walking/trotting with the head low and a round back. One epiphany moment was that when applying the aid to get him to canter, I don't need to jab him with my spur -- a bit of pressure (increasing if he doesn't respond) is all I need. Doing the aid this way is all I need to do to have a transition where he doesn't swish his tail or throw his head in the air.
January 18, 2012 Practiced dressage tonight, particularly getting smooth transitions, keeping his back round as possible, and getting the "long and low" on during the test. Gamble is _so_ smart. I really emphasized the "low" part by almost pulling his head down with the reins the first time I did the test. The second time, I needed very little encouragement and he put his head right down!
January 17, 2012 Jumped Gamble over a vertical after a bit of dressage practice. Eventually got it up to 3'6", and we had no knock downs the entire ride. We need to video it, though -- Tori says that a stride before the jump Gamble is lowering his head before making the leap. Not an issue at the 3'6" height, but as we get higher, we're going to want to get him moving into the jump in an "uphill" mode with his head up and his hind-quarters underneath him.
January 12, 2012 Dressage lesson today with Tracy. Went extremely well -- best "roundness" for Gamble and best transitions since we started. Still a long way to go, but continued progress. Speaking of "roundness", here is an excellent video that speaks to what "roundness" and "building a top line" is all about, as well as how long it takes to build a horse up to the level where they have a top line and can be collected: