This week I have been really concentrating on a few main things from my Debbie Bowman clinic last weekend — looking no further ‘outside’ than my horse’s outside ear, keeping my fingers CLOSED on the reins, stretching my legs DOWN and resisting my tendancy to draw my knees UP into the knee rolls, and stretching up very tall from my core, but also from my collarbone up, and to LOOK UP. For me, there are only so many things I can thinnk about at once and also ride my horse – and so I am trying to make these changes ingrained habits – so there will be room in my brain for the OTHER things I need to improve about my riding! LOL! But even working on those few simple things have made Fling and Faeryn much better!
Faeryn’s canter has improved SO much since the clinic – where Debbie had me do all of the above, plus think about taking more equal contact on both reins. I also am trying to resist my very bad habit of pumping at the canter – and just letting her move underneath me and keeping my seat very ‘neutral.’ Those small changes have made a HUGE difference. Her canter is so much more balanced and correct. Of course, I am sure Faeryn is thinking “She really is riding me better since that clinic!” LOL! Any ‘flaws’ in my horses are always due to ‘pilot error.’
I rode Fling three days in a row and got super work from her. A much fancier trot with much more impulsion, better half pass at trot – and, for once, I schooled HP at canter and was able to convince her to let ME drive (she really wants to ‘take over’ at canter HP since she is convinced there is a flying change at the end of each one) and was able to half pass all the way from centerline to the rail and keep it all together a few times! Her canter is getting better and better – mostly from my improved position — but also from a greater degree of self-carriage on her part. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘forward and back’ at trot and canter and it’s paying off! The ‘acid test’ for Fling’s canter is just cantering in straight lines all around the arena. If she can maintain her self carriage and LISTEN to my half halts and keep the same speed/tempo for the whole canter tour — then we’re golden. Today I cantered all around the arena and was able to ‘ride every stride’ and do a few steps of medium and come back easily. My “little sports car” is back!