My ride on Sunday started out super right from the first. I was concerned Fling might be a bit sore as she worked really hard on Saturday. She was super sweaty – lathered where the reins moved across her neck even.
But she warmed up very quickly and felt great and very supple for so early in the ride. Debbie pronounced our trot a 7 and then had me work to make it an 8.
Debbie immediately targed our half pass work both in trot and canter. First she had us work on the trot half pass counter changes of hand. I had been doing a bit of this on my own, but as usual I was doing it all wrong. LOL! I was letting her shoulders ‘slide’ over and fall on the new shoulder instead of keeping her “standing up.” The transition in the counter change determines the quality of the half pass to the new direction. We did that a few times and the counter changes got much better. Debbie showed me that the key to making a seamless, good change of bend is to really exaggerate my new inside hip position – ‘scissoring’ my hips/legs’ as I changed the directions – always thinking about ‘pointing’ to the new direction with the new inside hip.
Then we moved to the canter half pass. In addition to really making her ‘wait’ for me, again, Debbie had me really sit deeply on my new inside seatbone, and keeping her firmly on my seat, while asking for ever more increased bend. The strides got shorter but more active and I could feel her come up in her shoulders and I really could ride each stride – and also could see that this is where the canter pirouette comes from – because a CP is really just a series of single half pass strides! It was an incredible feeling – half pass at an entirely new level.
We finished with working on the medium trot across the diagonal with the 5-7 collected trot steps across X. I was thinking make the trot smaller as I tried to collect over X and I should be thinking about making the trot actually bigger but cover less ground. I found the right buttons and Fling and I danced from medium to collected effortlessly! i think Debbie was very pleased with our progress. I was ecstatic and so, so, grateful for my wonderful, hardworking horse. Debbie even commented that she thrives on hard work.