So I’ve ridden Fling a few times in our ‘new regime’ and took her to Marie’s and got some ore helpful tips. Marie gave me some exercises to make her more responsive to my half halts in the canter and to make her canter straighter.
Marie saw improvement from what I’d been doing on my own, but agreed Fling is still ignoring my half halts at the canter. Fling is very strong – as Marie says, that is a positive thing (esp when it comes to canter pirouettes) but she can ‘use it against me’ even if unintentionally. The longer we canter, the more she wants to GO and the less she listens to my aids.
To combat that, Marie first had me go on a 20m circle and go forward four strides, then come back to very collected canter for four strides, lather, rinse, repeat. When she was doing that well, we tried doing it on the long side or across the diagonal, but she again wanted to blow through my aids. So, Marie had me go across the diagonal, do a 10 meter circle at X, then do another 10 meter circle near S and then half pass to the rail.This is a perfect exercise for Fling because it totally defuses her notion that going across the diagonal equals “Off to the races!” Marie said a more advanced version of this exercise would substitute schooling pirouettes for the circles. We then worked on her canter piros and she was much better than before. I got her straighter off my outside rein and sat more evenly on both seatbones. We did some flying changes then, and our major problem is she is throwing her haunches to the left. The fix was to break down the exercise, so we worked on just picking up the canter on centerline, concentrating on keeping her very straight – because she even wants to swing her haunches there. I did multiple departs down the center line and she got better. My other homework is to continue to ask her to do haunches in to the right, half pass to the right and head-to-the-wall leg yields to get her stronger on that right hind.So, that was last weekend, and even though I’ve gotten home late from work most days this past week, I’ve worked on the above, and she’s getting straighter in her canter departs. After another week of this, I will see how the changes go again. Her canter in general is already much better than it was a month ago. Today I rode Faeryn and she also is much better. Marie’s prescription for her is also right hind strengthening, so she is doing the same exercises as Fling. And her canter has also improved a lot. The mosquitoes are so bad here – even though we’ve hardlly had any rain – it’s like something out of a horror movie. I was able to ride this evening, but only after drenching Faeryn and myself in bug repellant. I hope tomorrow is better and I also hope I have time to ride all three. I had to help my parents pack in advance of their move most of the day today so only had time to ride one horse.