Glimmer of hope
August 6, 2011 3 Comments
Well, after today’s lesson, I have a little more hope for our outing next weekend. Unlike Thursday’s ride, which was about 95% icky and about 5% acceptable, today I was able to maintain a rounder horse, steadier contact and a nicer gait. Derby was moving very nicely off my aids, and our geometry was decent too. Transitions still need work but I have six rides until we trot down the centerline, which is plenty of time to tighten the screws.
So this ride was much improved. I’m starting to believe we won’t make a terrible hash of our walk-trot tests next weekend. Needless to say, I’m relieved. I think Christy is, too!
What was the secret to today’s significant improvements? Actually, there were a few.
- Intention. Christy gave me a little pep talk, saying that I need to be more demanding of myself, and the horse. “Require the response,” she reminded me. “Ask nicely once, and then use your whip if you have to.” Sage advice, and it worked. Our gait quality was much better.
- Immediacy. There’s no reason to go around half a lap with a hollow horse. When Derby goes hollow I need to correct him pronto. My timing is getting better but this does still need work.
- Steady hands & hold the contact. This means closing my fingers, holding my hands steady and quiet (and keeping them independent) and adding a little pressure before transitions. Adding pressure before I require (yes, require, not “ask for”) a movement is a great reminder to not throw the contact away.
- Inside leg, inside leg, inside leg. Ride the horse from my seat.
- Use the core. Keeping my core engaged adds to the steady contact – especially in transitions. If I collapse my core when I do a transition, I’ve effectively given away the reins. Derby, God love him, is an opportunist, and he readily pops his head up and nose out when I let him.
So, things were better today. Looking forward to getting back on tomorrow!