August 7, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve been cramming in as many lessons as my schedule – and Christy’s – will permit. I’m glad I did, because it’s paying off. Today, riding solo, I had a solid ride and even logged a few improvements.
As I mounted up, I ran down my mental checklist. Don’t accept the wrong answer, like sluggish responses, a hollow back or an up-flung head. Correct problems immediately. Hold the contact. Use my seat and legs, not hands.
After letting Derby stretch a bit, I started more serious work at the walk. He was a bit locked up on the right side, so I worked on suppling him, flexing right and left, then bending and a little shoulder in, while staying round. Moving into the trot, things improved. Our upward transition was really nice and Derby was a lot more forward. He stayed nice and round as we motored around. I had to work a bit on roundness and connection as we did 20m circles, but we produced some good work and Derby was moving beautifully laterally.
For fun, I asked for a canter, and got a decent upward transition and a much more forward canter than I had in one of my lessons last week, in which I had to really encourage Derby to move out.
Next, we worked on some transitions, practicing halting through a working walk. The first few were ugly, and Derby’s elevated nose told me all I needed to know – I wasn’t riding him into the contact – I was giving him rein as we slowed. I tried again, holding the reins, keeping my shoulders back, and engaging my core. Better.
We finished up doing some relaxed changes of rein across the diagonal, and then some elongated figure 8’s, bisecting the arena across the centerline. I wanted to do a little work on the tight turns off the diagonal and onto the centerline I’ll encounter in the tests.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the ride, especially the fact that we were able to maintain decent quality throughout most of the ride. It’s back to boot camp starting on Monday. I’m glad I was able to get my homework for today done. While I wouldn’t call it “perfect practice,” it was an above average ride for me.