Had a really EXCELLENT ride today :o)
First off, Antsje is working far more consistently at seeking the bit which is a really great improvement as she does tend to do this ‘holding’ thing and I can tend to be a bit ‘backward’ with the hand in response. Both very subtle faults, which can become a norty habit! But when she is really seeking the contact you can tell the difference with her way of going.
So now we have a nice stretch to the bit and also her still ‘seeking forwards’ when you bring her together more, we still need a little bit more OOOMPH from the back end ;o) We need forwards but not so much faster but more engagement so we start to get that lift through the shoulder. So Im having to get after her a bit at the beginning of the session as we get nice stretch but in her ‘comfort zone’ or we get a bit too rushy and tight neck! I suppose she does find it very hardwork to keep the tone through her body yet turn on the power!
I know when I do my running, at times I just feel so super strong and powerful with my body feeling ‘connected’ which comes from the abs / core I think……but although it does feel great, I do struggle to keep this ‘poise’ for extended periods of time. It comes and it goes. As I get fitter, It comes more often and it goes less – so I suppose this is a similar feeling that Antsje has………
Anyway, we got some fairly nice work today, esp on circles but we do tend to loose it on serpentines…. Or quick changes of rein. So I decided to really concentrate on ‘lateral flexion’ as I know when we get her round my inside leg properly her way of going moves to another level!
So I did 10 m circles and then as I came back to the track I changed direction but keeping the bend so we were in a counter shoulder in position which really helped me control the SI positioning and therefore increased engagement as sometimes in normal SI we end up drifting to the middle of the school lol! So say we did a 10m circle at E on the right rein, we would come round and as we come back towards the track I would track left towards A with the bend now to the outside.
She found this quite difficult at first and kept breaking out of the trot…..funnily enough she was better on the right rein! But she soon started to get the idea and by the end my god she was really flexed round my inside leg, really light in hand but IN hand, and her back felt great! I was riding practically off the seat and my hands were just forwards and recycling the energy as we did circles, serpentines and figures of eight! I let her do a nice stretchy trot to end on both reins and called it a day. So so so pleased with her :o)
So in conclusion, next session I am going to do stretchy walk / trot / canter quite quickly to get warmed up and then do this counter shoulder in work and see if it has the same effect of getting her round my inside leg. Sometimes I think I need more of a plan when I ride to make the most of our time!