Another productive ride this morning :-D We did very similar work to yesterday morning to reinforce the flexing at the poll. One thing I did do different this morning was to do the little poll flexes in hand before I got on. This entails standing in front of her head, with my hands either side of her poll and just flex her poll either side so the the crest of her neck ‘flips over’ each side. I do this practically each time after I ride nowadays and I do believe it releases any tensions in the poll area which is an area where she holds significant tension if im not careful. I can tell it works because after a few ‘flips’ to each side she starts chewing and blowing through her nose ;-) It is also interesting because it is easy to flip the crest to the left but harder to the right, where she will try and bend more through her neck rather than make that little flexion right at the junction of the poll. Im not sure it is any great issue, other than just natural crookedness because after a few goes it becomes easier for her – she just seems to find it harder to isolate this spot on the right side for some reason.
Whether this had an impact on the ridden work its hard to say, but she definitely found it easier to flex on the right rein today – not perfect, but better and BOY can you feel the difference through her whole body when she has that ‘genuine’ bend rather than relying on the inside rein for support – FANTASTIC!! It somehow unlocks the inside hind and the back and she feels ‘buoyant’ to ride. Im experimenting how I can achieve this flexion under saddle as it really is just a tiny flexion right at the poll – I find it more difficult to isolate this area from the saddle as she does prefer to bend her neck!! But raising the inside rein up and out slightly seems to be having an effect – in no way does it work if I pull back!! She is teaching me well lol! I also find that she doesn’t ‘fill’ the outside rein on the right rein for, im guessing, much the same reason. Going back to the one handed girivolta work I always find it harder to get inside bend on this rein until I figured out that I need to move the shoulders over. I am almost trying to get that ;falling out of the shoulder’ feel on the circle on the right rein and then I seem to get that correct bend without the use of the inside rein.
Its all fascinating stuff and we are brave enough to leave the ‘head’ alone and let the horse make their mistakes it gives us valuable information on what and where we need to address to get the horse straight and balanced.