Wednesday, 19 May 2010

So to bring us up to date, before I jet off to Cuba for 2 weeks (typical hahaha) I am really pleased with how Antsje (and myself!) are progressing of late and Im riding most days although I don’t school everyday!!

I am continuing working on increasing engagement and self carriage as Antsje is very sneaky and you think she is going round really lovely but then you go to change rein / do a transition and it all comes undone because she is not actually carrying herself properly!! And in all honesty IM not either lol! One thing im learning is that if *I* am in self-carriage and riding with ‘tone’ and am completely THERE in the moment, so is Antsje is she goes like a dream! If im coasting either mentally or physically then you can bet your bottom dollar that Antsje is too! And why the hell not haha! Fair’s Fair!

So we are doing a lot of warming up with serpentines / figure of eights to really get her bending through the body on both reins – first in walk and then in trot. If I feel she is hanging (more often on the right rein) then I always go back to the one handed girivolta work until I have a nice inside flexion without the use of the inside rein! Lol! Its ALL about the HindQuarters working correctly and once I have THAT then the inside bend magically happens lol!

Then we are doing a lot of work on collecting the walk and trot, again by really activating the HQ’s but not allowing her to lean / tram through my hands and seat. She is getting the idea really well now, and I am also developing my feel so much more and can therefore make quicker adjustments to help keep Antsje balanced. We do exercises such a reinback, reinback to walk / trot transitions, transitions in general and lateral work especially paying attention to the rhythm of the steps so we get a nice ‘flow’ rather than sticky steps. I am also continuing to play with the half steps which really help to re-balance her and set up some lovely trot transitions.

And to help me, my friend has been lunging me without my stirrups and reins in walk, trot and canter to really improve my seat and balance – although I think he enjoys it way too much! Hahaha!

I really think she has improved since the clinic videos and if I have time at the weekend id like to get a bit more video of us as another benchmark in our journey!

Im BACK!! bout time hey!

God Ive been bad with this blogging malarkey **hangs head in shame** lol! A quick update to get me back started again! Thanks Patti for a kick up the proverbial arse lol!!

Well we had an excellent lesson with Heather Moffett at my friends yard and its been great value as im still working on the same lines now hahaha!

I wanted Heather to help me work on greater engagement and self carriage with Antsje as although she has great paces, she still needs to take more weight behind to really start working properly – this becomes apparent when we do lateral work in trot as she tends to do her famous evasion of rushing / powering through my seat / hand to avoid the slower deeper steps ;)
So we did a lot of work on lateral work in trot, reinback to trot and even a little bit of work on ‘half steps’ at the end!

Ive put the video up but as its in the indoor school the lighting isn’t that good! But I think you can get the general idea!! At times Antsje gets against my hand as she tries to speed up in the lateral work, also as Im trying SOOOO hard I am a bit stiff and rigid at times which also doesn’t help lol! And although im a LOT fitter now, I STILL struggle to maintain my seat when Antsje tries to ‘set sail’ and therefore I use my hand more than id like…….

Things Heather got me to do that have helped LOADS are;

1.Shorten my reins and keep my elbows towards the front of my hip bones as Im having the tendency to end up with my elbows behind me and a feeling of a more backward hand!! This stems from trying so hard to keep a bend in my elbows in the past that ive completely overcorrected hahaha! Mike also reminded me of this naughty habit! This will give me a better ‘forward feeling’ contact

2.When doing lateral work, think about ‘stacked hands’ with the outside being lower than the inside hand to help with the inside flexion.

3.Try not to take my outside hand over the neck……

4.Try and maintain a rhythm in the lateral steps by counting out loud and using the leg in time with the swing of the belly, and also tapping the HQ’s with the schooling whip where necessary (partic in travers) Antsje tended to be a bit hesitant in her steps and not really stepping through properly – I could feel the difference when Heather was shouting NOW NOW NOW when I should be applying my leg! :)

Sorry about the links but Ill never get time to embed them all lol!!!

Feel free to ask questions about the video, it might jog my memory a bit!!