WOOP WOOP!!! BOING BOING!!!
So THRILLED with the last couple of sessions with Antsje :o) Thurs I rode in the evening as due to time restraints in the morning I dont always get to work on a lot of canter by the time she is settled! As my friend Trudi said a while back, if you dont have her in walk, then dont go any further (or words to that effect!!) and it is sooo sooo true! Its more of a mental attitude thing with her I think, but if she is rushing through my seat in walk, no matter how subtle, then it is pointless moving up into trot. Otherwise the rushing is just magnified and it takes even longer to get any decent work! So we did nice SLOW funeral walk and lots of halt transitions and reinback to walk until I was satisfied she was 'on my seat' and engaging her HQ's. Once we have this the trot is just **there** in terms of quality and balance and therefore I can start using exercises to improve straightness / suppleness straight away rather than having to spend time balancing the trot!
I again worked a lot on reinback, halt then straight up into trot. And also the downward trans of trot straight into halt. A definate improvement on yesterday already! Having a clever willing horse and using clicker doesnt half get quick results - and YES, I do appreciate how LUCKY I am ;o) In the trot we did the halt-trot-halt trans, serpentines focussing on smooth changes of bend coming from the seat and 10m circles, again focussing on correct flexion and increased engagement.
I am reading Erik Herbermann right now and was well reminded of the importance of accuracy when riding. Choose your gait, choose your exercise and ride it!!
Then we moved onto some canter work. I am using walk to canter trans right now as 1) it improves engagement and 2) it helps balance.
In trot, she can still loose enagement / balance and therefore get on the forehand very quickly and rush. I dont think the walk - canter trans are a 100% direct yet (esp on right), but its enough to help the above issues :o) Im also aiming for a nice downwards trans into a balanced trot out of the canter which is coming on nicely. Canter to walk is too much as of yet.......
The canter today was a LOT better on a circle, so I did a bit of work up the long side. She is still struggling to keep the balance when straight and gets a bit flat and 'rushing' - esp on the right rein. BUT, its a work in progress so we have to keep trying. For the first time since i came back off hols, I asked her to pick up canter from the long side - not too bad on the left rein, but she warps quite a bit on the right, panics and rushes off!! But again, its worth persevering with for a few steps.
We had a few lovely balanced strides of canter on the straight on the right rein so I clicked and treated and got off and made much of her. PLEASED! :o)
This morning was the first morning since I have come back that Antsje was pretty much on my seat right from the word go!! YAY! So I didnt have to do so much work in walk this morning and got on with some trot-halt-trot trans. These were bloody EXCELLENT today!!! Particularly the downward trans. I have to add I am doing a lot more work around the arena now rather than just on a large circle as it highlights straightness issues better now as she is quite well balanced on a circle (or so it would appear lol!) We did lots of changes of rein, a little SI and upwards downwards trans with great results, so I tried a bit more canter!
This time straight off the corner and onto the long side rather than working on a circle and again walk to canter trans. And I have to say the quality of balance was hugely improved even from yesterday!!! I didnt let her canter on for long, we didnt loose the nice slower lifted canter but we did quite a few repitions on both reins. I was really impressed - as much with her attitude as with anything! she was really trying hard!! So I clicked, got off and HUGGED her loads lol!!!
She gets a rest tomorrow and hacking on Sunday.
I just LOVE LOVE LOVE my horse! She teaches me so much :o)
Oh, and before I forget, note to self - try not to ride like a spaz in canter lol!!!
When she goes well, I know I get really tight in an attempt to to bugger it all up hahahaha!!! FAIL!! Need to get back on that lunge again soon and focus on me RELAXING!