Faeryn went for a lesson on Sunday. It was her ‘maiden voyage’ in the new trailer, and it was also the first time in probably 4 months since I’ve taken a lesson on her.
I’ve been riding her regularly, but feel she has really regressed as far as her collection. I’ve been paying more attention to it lately and asking her to do ‘forward and back’ in all gates. As usual, the canter is the toughest. I feel like she has zero ‘adjust-ability’ in the canter, whereas at the trot, she can almost do ‘half steps’ and actually they are easier for her than Fling since she has more natural suspension in her gaits.
But the canter – when I ask for a half halt – nothing much happens. And again, I think it is a straightness issue. I am very challenged as a rider in terms of my ability to ‘feel’ and this is where it bites me in the butt the worst. I can almost always tell you _something_ is not right – but I cannot always tell you exactly _what_ it is, or how to fix it. I just need to remember that if the half halts are not going through, the first thing to check is straightness. But, the catch there is, I can’t feel it. When you ride the same horses all the time, mostly on your own, even crookedness can start to feel normal. So I can tell myself intellectually that crookedness is the probably culprit – but then how to diagnose where that crookedness is occurring? Shoulders out? Haunches in? Mirrors would be handy, and I actually got some bids on them, but then ‘life’ got in the way.
In Faeryn’s case, _I_ was causing the crookedness by having her bent too much to the inside. Once we fixed me, she was much better. The crookedness was preventing her from truly half halting, which, in turn, made it impossible for her to truly halt halt, and as a result, she was too ‘strung out.’ It really does just snowball!
I rode Fling Monday and last night, and in each ride I asked for flying changes along the straight line (but not the ‘wall’) and also across the diagonal. I got three each day! Now, they were not as straight as they should be, and the third one was a little more, um, ‘expressive’ than it should be – but they were clean, and she changed when I asked her. Progress! I was actually able to keep her ‘together’ and organized enough between changes. I think this will also take the ‘edge’ off of her “woo hoo, we’re doing changes” issue. The more ‘multiples’ she does, I think the less exciting they will be. Or one can hope!