You get what you ask for…and what you accept
July 11, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m finally getting my strength back to the point where I can start worrying about other things than not banging the saddle when I post or steadying my hands. Gait quality has been better of late, but I’m still allowing Derby to go around with his nose poked out like a little hunter. So staying round, through, bending and forward are very much on my mind these days.
Christy really zeroed in on a couple key issues tonight when it comes to bending and staying round and on the aids. I’m either not asking for the response I want, or I’m accepting a “meh” response from the horse. In other words (and this sure sounds familiar) I need to “fix it now.” Some key takeaways from tonight that I must remember:
- Use the inside rein. If he doesn’t respond to a softening of the inside rein, and continues to hang, get busy with the inside leg while insisting with the inside rein (e.g. a direct rein). My desire to not hang on the inside rein has gone a bit too far. I am allowed to use it.
- When Derby feels “stuck” and braced against me, I need to mix it up. Flex him, do serpentines and leg yields – anything to get that neck unbraced and softer.
- Do as little as you can do but as much as you need to do to get the response you want – but be mindful. If the horse doesn’t respond when I ask nicely, I have to next ask not-so-nicely. Accepting no response results in a dull horse that’s dead to the aids.
This video from my lesson captures some of Christy’s advice to me. By the end of the lesson I was getting much better and faster responses from Derby, and we really started to get it together. This clip is still chock full of the uglies but I love it because it captures Christy’s advice, and shows that when I follow it, I get the responses that I want from the horse. Until, at least, I stop riding in the last seconds and collapse …
I had to work my butt off but by the end of the ride we managed to get ourselves together more consistently. Overall, I’m happy with the progress recently, especially with the improvement in the horse’s gaits. We had a really nice canter tonight that felt fresh and forward, and the trot work across the board has also improved. I’m putting myself into almost-full training and am excited about my ride tomorrow. Progress is so motivating. 🙂