Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Forward and Straight!

Or should it be straightforwards?? hahaha!

After realising I had probably overdone the riding after the chiro session I gave Antsje the day off completely yesterday, although I did notice she seemed quite ‘tight’ again through the poll when I was putting her headcollar on. I am beginning to worry I have overdone it to her detriment and also wonder why a bodywork session should put her so out of whack – almost to the point of feeling crooked again?

This morning I rode again but I focussed on forwards and straight work and it was actually quite nice to do some different type of work and also found it very interesting the information it gave me :o) First off when I got on she felt very like she was throwing me to the outside on the right rein and I was starting to panic my last session had put her pelvis out or something!! ARGH!! But I just though, forward and straight and tried to get an even contact into BOTH reins and to imagine my legs being ‘pillars’ which she had to remain straight inbetween. On the right rein I asked for a bit more activity from the outside hind and concentrated on her HQ’s not trailing to the inside – this automatically made her feel more ‘level’ through my seat. On the left rein I had to focus more on her neck being straight as she tends to naturally flex to the inside and trail her HQs to the outside. So I kept more of a feel through the outside rein until I could feel some contact into the inside rein and also using my outside leg to keep the 1/4s straight.

I also did a bit of slowing the walk right down using my seat but still asking for forward and straight – we did get a few wiggles from side to side but in the main she kept pretty straight and maintained it when I asked her to walk more forwards again. Then we went into trot and applied the same kind of aids. To start with she wanted to go a bit quicker than I wanted so I slowed her down a bit – but I did find it harder on straight lines to stop her getting a bit onward bound than when I ride circles. So from a very slow almost ‘counted walk’ which was STRAIGHT I asked her to step into trot and we then got a much slower and balanced trot. I was mindful of plenty of downward trans so she didn’t get tempted to ‘set sail’ but in the main I was very happy with the work and we were able to get some nice ‘straight and even’ strides down the long side.

I also kept away from the outside track and used the inside circuit as she does love to ‘lean’ against the fence lol!! I felt her keep trying to wander back to the track at the beginning but at the end she seemed much more balanced and was happy to stay between the ‘pillars’ of my legs.

So on the left rein the ¼’s swing to the outside and the neck naturally kinks to the inside with the weight on her outside shoulder. On the right rein her ¼’s tend to swing IN and her neck kinks to the outside with the weight more on her inside shoulder. So she is not quite a straight line but more an oblique line lol! Now although the work we have been doing on the circle has been good, it has been harder to identify the weakness on the left rein as she automatically flexes to the inside and therefore it **feels** like you have her in the outside rein and she is not hanging on the inside rein, but in reality she is not taking ENOUGH of the inside rein and she is LEANING on the outside rein and falling out of the circle. Its very subtle but far more apparent on the straight line than it is on the circle!
On the right rein it’s a different story! On the straight t line she feel much straighter on this rein because her neck doesn’t flex so well to this side and its not until you go on a circle that you realise that she falls IN through the shoulder and slightly flexes to the outside and therefore leans on the INSIDE rein.

So……………what does this tell me?? Well actually nothing new! I already had this figured – BUT – it DOES tell me that I need to ride as much straight lines as I do circle work and I DO need to focus on having an EQUAL contact in BOTH reins and an awareness that she is leaning on neither ;o) The best way to judge this at the moment is how she feels on a circle to the right and on a straight line to the left. So all in all a positive session where Ive learned a lot about the benefits of straightening work and why its important to work on both circles AND straight lines!

At the finish Antsje felt very even on both reins and I didn’t get the ‘pushing my seat to the outside’ at the end – so I calmed down a bit hahahah!!!

Oh! And she seemed a lot looser through the poll today too! :o)

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