Clarifying lateral work basics
January 23, 2012 1 Comment
Tonight I wanted to work some more on improving my ability to activate Derby’s hind legs, and really get him to step under himself. Christy devised a great exercise that helped me tremendously. We started at the walk, on a 20 m “square.” Instead of a circle, Christy had me ride straight lines, and then ride each turn like a deep corner. This ensured I bent the horse, and straightened the horse, and bent again. Then she had me add a couple steps of leg yield on my straight sides. I was amazed that we were able to do this easily, and without a much insistence on my part. We repeated the pattern at the trot, and as we rode through it, I could feel the contact and the gait improving. It was a neat exercise that really helped me develop more feel about what a decent leg yield requires, and what it feels like.
Switching directions, however, things got a little sloppy in the corners. Christy remedied this by having me fix my eyes on a spot on the wall, and ride toward it. Then going into the corner, he had me turn my head, find a new spot, and ride to that. This little trick cleaned up my corners in a hurry. I started riding them deeper and getting more well organized. Best of all, I felt a real improvement in my connection and the horse’s back end. You can see from the picture below that he’s really using himself. It was a great lesson and this exercise is one I”m going to use a lot!
PS. I put my small spurs back on tonight. My lower leg is staying really quiet! Yay!!!