My “almost third level” horse, Fling, has been off the entire summer. I started riding her again in August and wanted to get her ‘up to speed’ before I spent money taking lessons on her.
The last real video I have seen of ourselves together is from show videos of Second Level tests I rode in 2007. Since then, I’ve caught infrequent glimpses of ourselves in the mirrors at a friend’s arena when I would occasionally haul over there to ride, and I could tell we were on the right path.
My trainer comes once a week, and I take two lessons, alternating between my three horses. The last two weeks I’ve ridden Fling. Marta took video on my digital camera last week. The last two lessons have consisted of working on the canter, since she’s really solid in her trot work. The canter is always the last to develop, it seems, and the canter is also what lost the most in terms of strength and collection during her ‘forced sabbatical.’
I have a tendancy to worry more about collection than forward in the canter. And, I found, what I _thought_ I was feeling wasn’t at all what it seemed.
During my lesson, Marta kept telling me to ride her faster and more forward at the canter. It _felt_ like we were careening around the arena out of control, and I kept half halting because it really felt to me that she was above the bit. Fling has a shorter neck than my other two horses, so she feels quite different. The entire lesson, Marta kept telling me Fling needed to push more from behind at the canter, and I needed to let her ‘go’ in front more, and also push her forward. I could feel that the canter felt better, doing what Marta directed me to do, but I really felt it was not at all through or connected.
And then I watched the video.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a big disconnect between what I thought I felt and what I subsequently saw on video.
Fling is round and very collected. I need to quit worrying about trying to collect the front by half halting and ride her hind legs forward more.
Which is why I am an amateur and Marta is a pro. 😉