Even though I haven’t ridden as much as I would like, I rode Fling in the Debbie Bowman clinic today and probably will ride her again tomorrow. We worked on flying changes with some success, got some really good half pass and finished with half steps.
The flying changes are always going to be my ‘Achilles Heel” it seems. Part of the trouble is that I have sacriced straightness for way too long in order to just get a flying change. So now I am haviing to go back and attempt to convince Fling that she CAN do a flying change without going crooked or diving to the new canter lead direction. We worked along the fence and she did not even want to change if she had to stay straight, but part of the trouble is that _I_ am looking down right at the moment I ask her to change. There was some of that ‘not pretty’ work that sometimes happens when you are trying to teach the horse something, but there was progress made.
Her canter half passes were good, and she was good with the half pass to the rail and then counter canter to C/A and then doing a flying change.
We finished with working on half steps and I finally got the feeling of a real piaffe step. Debbie had me go about it differently this time. Instead of trying to collect her ‘down’ to shorter/more active steps, she first had me do several very active walk to trot transitions. And then she had me do walk to trot transitions that were active but more collected. Toward the end, suddenly I could feel Fling really come UP in front and SIT behind. Debbie said, “did you feel that?” And I said, YES – and I told her it felt like that moment when you are on the plane hurtling down the runway and you feel the wheels in front first leave the ground. She was stunned because she said that was always the description she had used to explain to students. I had never read that or seen it described that way – it was just immediately the first thing that came to my mind. Weird, huh?
I rode Faxx this morning before the clinic and it has been more than two weeks since I rode him last. I just hate that ‘life’ – along with the weather – has gotten in the way. He was a good boy, though and I HOPE as summer approaches, with more daylight and hopefully a finished arena within the next month or two, that we can get back on track. My goal for Faxx this year is to show him first level at recognized shows and second level at schooling shows and qualify him for the USDF/GAIC regional championships and show him at the championships in November.
I have signed up Fling to show her Fourth level test 1 at a schooling show next weekend and I am eyeing a show in May as her recognized Fourth level debut.
Tomorrow I will ride Fling with Debbie again.