I just returned from a Conrad Schumacher clinic in Gig Harbor, WA. It was a super clinic, with some very interesting horse and rider combinations. Including several adult amateur riders on a variety of different horses, a few professionals on medium level horses, and a couple of eventers interested in furthering their dressage. I rode my horse Escorial (whom Conrad has seen for many years), who is now schooling all the GP work. Here are a few notes I took while watching the other riders:
Leg yield--think flexion and yielding towards outside leg so horse finds the outside leg. This is a good preparation for the canter departs, and helps to get the neck longer and looser.
Use counterflexion in canter as preparation for flying changes. Ride long sides in true canter with counterflexion then inside flexion through the corner and on short side...repeat a few times. (This really helped get my horse looser and longer in the neck in his changes)
The canter aid comes predominantly from the outside leg (interesting because some trainers think it comes mostly from the inside leg)
*Simple movements matter alot, because they help the horse to understand easier what we want* (This comment was made in regard to working on walk-halt-walk transitions with an older horse)
The rider must be relaxed in the shoulders--give the rein out of the shoulders--or, "give with contact" (Conrad often has riders "roll their shoulders" to get them looser there, he also wants the contact to become more elastic, which comes out of the shoulder, not the arm)
Square exercise with deep corners--start with trot-walk-trot transitions (trot to walk before corner, walk deep into corner, then trot out)--then move to riding square in trot with almost walk --"back, turn, give"--helps to get horse to come back on its own in the corners--same exercise can be done in canter with canter-walk-canter