A great start to 2014

The weather has warmed up and suddenly I’ve found my energy and motivation! This weekend I had another super lesson on Fling with my trainer, Marie Morgan. We have made a great breakthrough in the past month with getting her to lift her back more and be rounder at the canter and straighter. Actually, the straightness is what came first and allowed the other. Her carriage is much more uphill. Marie told me she is looking more and more like a ‘real’ FEI horse and to keep doing what I am doing. I am proud of this new breakthrough because it was something I figured out on my own, working alone.

Today I got up early and was happy that rain that was predicted for today never showed up. I rode Faeryn first. I need to push her more. I have just let her lag along at first/second and she’s going to be NINE this year. Unbelievable. I need to raise the bar for her and ride her like she is a third level horse. Tons of transitions. Trot to walk and insist on immediate walk and immediate transition to trot..no walk steps. Canter transitions and simple changes to prepare for flying changes. Head to the wall leg yields to build carrying strength in her hind end. She was very good today.

Fling was very quick to warm up. She usually takes a long time because I fight so much to get her straight EVERY time. Marie showed me an exercise that works much better and takes away the ‘fight.’ It is so simple – I would try to get her straight on a circle – she wants to throw her shoulder to the left both directions. Instead, Marie just had me do very shallow leg yields, keeping her PERFECTLY straight – no bend at all. Much easier and more effective way to warm her up and get her straight and ready to really work.

We did some trot work – transitions to walk, rein back and trot forward, and some half pass and turns on haunches. Then I moved to canter and first did transitions from collected to ‘pirouette canter’ and then asked for pirouettes – only doing two or three strides in each one and then cantering forward out of it. Since Marie pointed out I needed to use my KNEE as well as my lower leg to turn her, they have improved…and then today I also realized that I need to move my inside shoulder BACK, which puts me on my inside seatbone much better.

Then I worked on the simple changes….two strides of canter, walk or halt, pick up other lead…lather, rinse, repeat. She’s better so much better at cantering underneath my seat, and ONLY from my seat and shoulder back aid. this will help a lot when I move to phase two of my plan – actual flying changes every 3 and 4 strides.  I just love this horse so much. She is so generous and is so willing to work hard and give me everything I ask. I pray I can ride her for many years to come. She will be 14 this August, but it just seems like yesterday that I welcomed her into this world!

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