Day Four – All is calm on the equine front!

Faxx and Fling have finally settled in and no more drama!

We worked on canter and trot half pass today with Fling. In addition to more bend, I need to (again!) leave her ALONE more once we start the half pass. Once I get her set up propertly, she feels much ‘dancier’ when I give the reins a bit. Remember that half pass is just a diagonal with bend!  We had much more success in getting clean flying changes from the half pass. My main issue is keeping her from leaning on my outside leg. She needs to stay evenly between my legs and not lean on one or the other. I think I am also ‘blocking’ her with my seat sometimes, preventing her from ‘jumping through.’ Ineed to remember that the flying change is nothing but a canter depart FROM the canter. I need to move my hip forward when I ask for the change, just like I do with ‘regular’ canter departs.

 A few tips on various subjects — in shoulder in, think about creating a ‘triangle’ between rail, horse’s body and space between rail and front legs. Keep that ‘triangle’ the same all throughout the SI. I maintain the ‘triangle’ well, but again, need to give the reins more and let her dance.  Also, something I’ve been told before, but forget — look between the horse’s ears. It will help you maintain the right position on the horse. I tend to look too much to the inside, which encourages my horses to go out the shoulder too much.  We finished up by working on our extended trot and canter. Need to really ‘rev’ the engine through the corners, then just let her go and don’t chase her. Keep hands forward and think about riding her UP as much as FORWARD. Especially at the canter, don’t be afraid to ‘go for it.’

I warmed Faxx up the way Marta told me – waiting for him to take contact. He was very good and when we picked up the trot, he was nicely on contact with a bit longer neck. We worked on doing a bit of shoulder fore with him at trot and canter.He got the idea very fast.  More work on trot lengthenings and tried counter canter for the first time. Easy!  His canter is super balanced and uphill. We did counter canter all the way around the arena, and on the long sides, Marta had me do some shoulder fore in counter canter. He got the hang of counter canter through the corners quickly. We finished up by asking for canter lengthenings. This was the first time I’d ever asked him to do that. The amazing thing is, instead of cantering out of control and having to haul on the reins to come back to working canter, as is usually the norm with a young horse – Faxx listened to my half halt and came back quite nicely to working canter! What fun!

So, tomorrow is our last day. I am sure my horses are ready to go home! I admit I do miss Faeryn – Fling’s full sister who is coming 5. Mike says she’s just been moping around in the pasture with Mike’s geldings. Faxx and Fling will get a few days off, and I’ll ‘experiment’ on Faeryn with my newfound knowledge! Faeryn rides much like Faxx – and has some of the same issues with her longer neck. So I expect that even tho she did not make the trip, she will benefit from it too.

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