November 27, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve been working hard since my last lesson, in which Derby was dull and the ride was generally uninspired. Developing Derby’s forward gears and maintaining engagement and roundness in the transitions have been my primary foci. However, as part of the working on forward equation, we’ve been doing more work at the canter.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the quality of my homework and am looking forward to my lesson tomorrow. Derby was good yesterday and really good today – we had some very nice trot work including some bending serpentines in which we maintained impulsion and had good bend.
In the back of my mind today was also the imperative to start working in more correct bend. When I remembered, I rode bend going into corners, and given the traffic in the arena today, I also had to do changes in direction and line. We did lots of circles and the quality of that work was some of our best.
Early in the ride, I put Derby into a canter, keeping transition quality in mind. I also wanted to start doing a better job of riding the canter – holding the contact, pushing the horse into it. and also engaging his hind legs. Today was – I think – our best canter ever. Derbs was enthusiastic – he didn’t peter out but instead held the tempo – and I was able to sit up and ride circle that felt balanced. I also got the horse to move out from that circle – I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a leg yield , but it was in that vein.
We’ve also schooled transitions ( trot / walk / trot) over the last few rides. First I had to develop more responsiveness from Derbs – you need energy to maintain engagement. The transitions have improved incrementally from ride to ride, as I do a better job of riding them – using my half halt and getting the horse to soften while staying in the bridle by holding the reins, engaging my core and closing my legs going into the transition. You have to ride downward transitions forward – which is really counterintuitive for me and something I struggle with. It’s not great yet but we’re doing better, which is enough for me!