Ooh, this one really made me think. Here's my top 5 flatwork exercises:
1. Shoulder-in. I really do like doing shoulder-ins. It's a great way to engage the hind end, lighten the front end and get my horse paying attention to me.
2. Canter leg yields. This is definitely geared towards Jetta, since strengthening her canter is something we're constantly working on as it's her "weakest" gait.
3. Transitions within the gait. Especially with Jetta and strengthening her canter, doing a "shorter" strided, almost collected canter for a few strides, then opening to a working canter for a few strides, then doing a lengthened canter. Also helpful for jumping, doing the same exercise with a pair of poles on the ground and changing up the number of strides you get between the poles.
4. Bending on a straight line. Really helpful with Misty and getting her to listen to my seat when I ask for turns instead of dropping her shoulder. The problem with doing both ranch work type stuff and then dressage is that if you let her, she will completely drop that inside shoulder and turn on a dime. Not quite the objective in dressage. So getting her to wait for the turn by bending her on a straight line, then sometimes turning her and sometimes straightening her out again and getting her to not anticipate.
5. Stopping and backing. It's not something I've seen a whole lot in the dressage/english world but I find it really useful for getting Jetta off her forehand and lighter to my aids when I ask for a halt. Also, super useful for western horses to get their weight settled back to make nicer sliding stops and to prepare them for rollbacks.
In other news, I went to a tack sale over the weekend and managed to find two out of the three items I needed! I got Jetta a neck cover for $30 which was exactly what I wanted to pay, since I can't seem to justify spending more money on the neck cover than I have for any of my blankets. It's a brand new SmartPak brand. It is a size medium, which I was afraid would be too small, but it fits perfectly even with her Weatherbeeta blanket.
I also found a nice, soft pair of plain brown leather english reins to go on Jetta's new Horze bridle. I don't like breaking in reins in the slightest, so for five bucks I get to skip that step!
Lastly, I didn't find Misty a new medium weight blanket with or without a neck cover so I guess I'm saving up for a new one. She's still rocking the lightweight blanket with a liner but it's annoying and just doesn't fit quite right. Overall a good sale as always!