One week ago, finally an opportunity to work with my trainer.
When there’s not going to be a lot of instruction opportunities, you know you better hang on to every word! (And thank you Alexis for driving all the way out to us!)
The October show was great. Still don’ feel I have “unlocked” the possibilities with this horse. She moves tight, and takes every opportunity to lock up, resist, slow down, wiggle the shoulders, tilt her head. Or all of the above.
Goal for this month: work, every ride, on riding her in a new way. Getting the basics down, all over again, with her moving more free, preferably without much influence of the hand at all. Starting almost from scratch all over again 🙂
Forget about fiddling with a better leg yield or small voltes for now. Writing it here will help make me accountable. Fingers crossed I can do this!! So far so good…
We spent a full hour on simply being more in tune of the leg, balancing the bit quietly in front of her, offering opportunity to lengthen the neck with the hand softening forward more often. (Now, a week later after the session, it’s getting more difficult…)
And steering the withers.
The last one ended up being the key.
It’s tempting to want to soften her body, and bend her around the inside leg. You do that too? With her, just overdoing it an inch makes her outside shoulder pop out on the circle and she’ll instantly lose all forward.
So, she has to be really on the outside aids, leg and rein. Steering just for them. Like a bus. Because the sort of horse she is, and because that’s where she’s at in the training again right now…
Positioning the poll to the inside more an afterthought, later, when she stays reliably in the tempo. This is hard, because through the ride, she gets more excited, and wants to curl just one inch, letting go of the bit. And then we wiggle, feeling lost, and it starts to feel like I can’t even ride her straight.
New mantra, steer like a bus.
Sure, this has come up before. Of course.
But that’s how it works with dressage – riders can’t take in the instruction until they’re actually ready. Or, until they’re convinced there’s absolutely no way they can continue what they’re doing now. And that lightbulb went on for me at the last show Ω
Fingers crossed we hold on to this type of riding all on our own until next month!
If you’ve got a tweak you’re working on – feel free to share it! We can’t be the only ones…?