I rode Fling both days in the clinic this weekend. I hadn’t totally planned to, but Faeryn lost a shoe last week and could not get the shoer out, and Faxx is still coughing from the bug they all had two weeks ago. I can ride him lightly, but anytie I trot him for any length of time he coughs repeatedly.
We’re working on improving her canter, and also trying to improve my position, which, will improve her canter. I am still trying to break a bad habit of ‘pumping’ at the canter, which starts so subtley that I don’t even realize when it stars to happen. What causes it is mostly when I let my reins get too long and and then I start carrying my hands more in my lap instead of in front of me and over her withers.
She has improved a lot from last time in that she is no longer constantly trying to swing her left hind leg out to avoid takingg weight on the right hind. She is still stiffening on the right rein, which I need to fix by making sure my right rein is short enough and that I drive her up to the right rein instead of pulling back on it. It also helps to do lateral exercises to ‘unblock’ her on the right side and get her more flexible and through. I think it’s been hard to half halt her on the right – because she’s been ignoring me – so I’ve just quit and let my rein get longer to completely avoid the issue. I could feel her get much more ‘through’ when I worked on those things. I also need to remember to maintain the quality of the gaits even through the lateral work, especially at shoulder-in. I should not let her ‘flatten’ her gaits just because she is doing lateral work. Toward the end we worked on one movement that’s tough for her from Fourth level test one, and that is doing a medium trot across the diagonal and then doing 4-5 steps of collected trot over X. For years to get the mediums I just ‘chased’ her and did not maintain connection – which made it impossible to do that downward from medium to collected in a clear manner. I need to gradually ask for the medium, and keep my leg on her through it, and gradually bring her back. Eventually it will get ‘snappier’ – the medium itself, and the downward to collection – but for now this is where we need to start.
Today we did more of the same and my position at the cante rwas better. We did a lot of counter canter to get her straighter…left canter lead going right – and also renvers at the canter like we did at Marie’s a few weeks ago. She had a few perfectly square downwards to halt and then we worked more on the medium to collected trot. I need to remember the perception – when she is doing it right, she does not necessarily feel like she is going more forward or faster – she just feels FANCIER – more air underneath her, and I cn feel her back bouncing under my seat. If she surges forward and feels faster, we’ve lot connection and throughness.
Now I need to make a decision by May 9 whether or not I’m showing her at Fourth level at a show Memorial Day weekend. I will have a chance to go to some schooling shows between now and then – but not before I have to send in my entry. Now, for the next two weeks, I need to start riding through parts of the test. I have ridden through the canter work more than I have the trot. Now is the time to put it all together.