I was right!! We had been lacking some lateral flexion especially on the right rein ;o) I really concentrated on flexing the poll while ridden today today and did some bending / counter-bending exercises on a circle, inside flexion of her head while keeping the shoulders straight on the long side and also the ‘deeper’ (eeeek that word!) stretched position in shoulder-in and travers that we did with Mike both down the long side and on the circle. All of this was to try and get her to really release the neck from the base but also keep the gait steady and not loosing balance and rushing and falling onto the forehand.
We didn’t really do any more than those exercises today as I think it was enough for her to think about and I do believe this is one of the things she does find difficult.
So after we had done a bit in walk I asked her to step up into trot trying to keep the same ‘connection’ of the base of the neck and slight inside flexion. She did try and rush at times (her evasion) but I kept asking her to slow down and once she did I used the inside rein in a slightly upwards / outwards manner while also pressing her with my inside leg to ask her to flex to the inside – and all of a sudden, she released her neck and we had ‘SUPER TROT’ which feels just bloody brilliant! Not any easier to ride I might add because the lift is amazing! :-0
The release down into the inside bend seems to also release the back and free the inside hind because the change in the quality of trot is unmistakeable and the words ‘elastic, supple, through, swinging’ all come to mind. The best way I can describe it is the hindlegs ‘sink down’ and then as they push off the energy comes through the whole of the body like a wave. Of course we have moments of unbalance (both of us) but I am finding techniques to successfully re-balance and re-gain the ‘super trot’ at least on a circle anyhow! To finish we used the whole arena and we both found it more difficult to maintain ‘on the straight’ particularly as she has more scope to ‘set sail’ down the long side! But I do think its important to venture off the ‘safe circles’ and try and test our balance on the ‘straight and narrow’ so’s to speak hahaha!
Oh yes, I am still incorporating the clicker work into the training – not prolifically but for when she does something really special……..like super trot!
The poll flexions were better today also.
GOOD day today! :-D