Things I learned while riding Friday night:
- Use my body for something besides half halting. What? Yes, don't forget to turn my shoulders and use that motion to help use my thighs and legs to help Penn turn and change bend. Especially in the shallow loop from T3.
- "Long" arms for a long neck.
- Following that point, careful with the inside hand- use and release. Almost think about letting it sit more forward than the outside hand. Doing that let's Penn immediately soften, look for the bit, and lengthen his neck.
- Do not forget how I rode the trot- ride the canter in a similar fashion but a different rhythm.
Items reinforced by our ride Friday night:
- Even though Penn is looking and wants to spook (or wants to lean at the canter), DO NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THE NECK. Ever. Reinforce the bend with the leg and seat. Leg on to support him but not enough to squirt him forward.
Keeping those things in mind, we had an AWESOME ride Friday night. I wanted to work on the one loop from T3 since I can't seem to get that right at the shows. I started by getting deep into my corners, then trying to make the bend changes work... it didn't really click until I got to trot and remembered to turn my shoulders. Then he was like, "You'd like me to change my bend? Of course! Why didn't you say so?" Doh.
Anytime he would get heavy, some inside leg and give/release on the inside rein would remind him to hold himself up. He felt so sure of himself, I was very pleased!
I did some canter work next with the intention of working it more than the trot. I started from the shallow loop and followed the pattern from the left lead canter. All the good prep from the trot translated to the canter. Keeping all the same ideas from trot in mind... into the corners, keeping the inside leg at the girth (which is further up than I think), not dropping my inside hand, and not pulling back and holding with the inside hand. His canter started off a little runny, but as I worked it, it got better and better. The more he trusted me not to take away from the length of his neck and pull my inside rein, the lighter and quieter and easier he got in the more difficult part of that movement (for him it's continuing after the circle and across the next short side into the diagonal). The final one we did to the left was incredible. All of a sudden he found his big boy pants and became light and very flexible.
I love that when I get things right, he answers right away. But that's the kind of horse he is- he wants to please and do what you want.
We only worked for about a half hour, but I was so pleased with him. No reason to drill before the show! In plan on doing a similar ride today since that seemed to go well.
|All smiles for a test well done!