While Phil is much more ridable than he once was, I realized that we were still missing a major component of dressage: connection. We've been working very hard on this, and I am now planning on going to the NODA schooling show series this summer.
I have to discipline myself and lunge Phil before I ride him, not because he's silly if I get right on him, but because it helps Phil to relax his back and stretch into the bit. It takes longer and it gives me more tack to clean at the end of the day, but Phil is certainly more through his back and makes a better connection when I lunge him first in side reins, even if it's for five minutes.
Today was beautiful so we rode outside again. I forced myself to lunge him first and we had a great ride. Except we had another run-in with the geese! Those damn geese are secretly plotting against me. I must say that Phil freaked much less than he did last time. He was able to get back to work pretty quickly.
I am certain that we'll continue to make progress. I'm really excited about this year. I just hope I can get a ride to the shows...not having a truck and trailer really sucks!