Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

An interesting lesson

So very interesting lesson today.

For the record -- this is likely going to entirely lose my non-horse audience so feel free to skip the next few paragraphs... I'll *** it or something when it comes back :) And really the entire post will be equine related....

So in trot, shoulder-fore, shorten, straight, lengthen. Ok this is pretty standard now and while the shoulders may or may not actually come it it does tend to get her connected pretty solidly. So good to go. Then it was walk, leg-yield out, 180 turn on the forehand IN, trot, canter new direction. Anybody catch the tricky part there? The capital letters should give a pretty clear hint :)

Now if I'm leg-yielding out, that sets up for a really easy turn-on-the-forehand (henceforth TF) out. Flexion is in, horse is bent around inside leg, horse's hindlegs are moving away from inside leg. It makes sense to me to just stop the front end and have the haunches continue to the outside off the inside leg. (still with me?)

But no, we're to leg-yield out and then bring her haunches IN for the TF. So change bend, direction of movement, active leg, everything. This managed to confuse both Sienna and I the first time *g* She ended up tangled and stopped -- unable to go anywhere, and I was still stuck on "you want me to do what?" hahaha so we trotted around once and tried again when *I* @ least knew what was expected and so had a much better chance of explaining it to Si.

Anyways -- it wasn't pretty, not going to win us great marks in dressage, but she did it and really made an effort and when we trotted off the canter transition was... Really good. Like *really* good. AND it even worked to the usually-impossible direction. So needless to say I was pretty thrilled at that. Confuzzled though. Thoroughly.

"So, that clearly worked, but I don't understand why...?" And this coach being relatively patient w/ my continual need to understand the whys of whatever we're doing (after all -- how else can I teach somebody else to do it if it's still magic to me? :), explained that that exercise was basically gymnasticising the outside (soon to be inside) hind. In the leg-yield, the inside hind crosses in front of the outside hind. Same thing in the TF. So we're all good right? Except that when the TF is in the opposite direction of the LY, the leg that was behind has to swing around and come in front to cross back the other direction. Which they have to drop their butt and really stretch to do. Cool eh?

Now what I still don't get (and didn't think of @ the time) is that that leaves you w/ the inside hind in the power position and it's the outside you need for the canter transition so the logic is missing a *little* there hahaha but the whole gymnastic effect was interesting and it certainly had her balanced and listening so made it easier to go from there to outside-hind engaged and correct canter depart.

******end of technical horse babble*****

and on to non-technical horse babble >;-P

Interesting exercise in the canter. Typical lengthen/shorten. And he wanted it for 6 strides only (3 to establish and 3 to maintain and then switch). The catch? Count strides -- the same way we do when we're jumping. Short - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6, long - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. ummmm walking and chewing gum anybody? hahaha I gotta tell ya, honestly I couldn't entirely see the point. I understand the point of counting strides to jump, and I understand the point of counting for rhythm on the flat (albeit only to 2 for that...) but this seemed a little random. However, taking a lesson, give it a fair try. Well within about one 20m circle I had the best canter I've had on her. Balanced and connected and lengthening and -- better yet -- shortening! Without breaking (a continual issue for us). The odd time I missed a number or two trying to do too many things at once, but I was pretty close to on count.

"So did you notice you were able to maintain the canter?" (hahaha ok so I'm not the only coach who points out the obvious to reinforce things :). Ok but why? And he knows me well enough now that he doesn't even bother to make me ask the question. "By counting, you commit. It forces you to focus on every single stride." Everybody's heard ride-every-stride before. Some of us even think we accomplish it once in a while. But this is the first time I've actually seen it taught. And it made enough of a difference to show me how it should be (or at least closer to - I was probably *really* riding 3 out of 6 in the counting). "If you want to daydream, go hacking. That's why we go hacking. Or do it during your w/u or cool down. But when you're working, make every stride count." Ironically it goes along w/ my forever issue of "you're thinking too fast" -- and he has a point. Although I never realized I did it on the flat too! hahaha my usual concern with her is "keep her going" and IF we get that "correct bend, balance, contact". And while I am responding to what's happening in the moment (how her body's shifting etc) I'm mostly thinking "she's going to do X up there and how am I going to circumvent that". This technique had me thinking shorten shorten shorten relax relax relax lengthen lengthen lengthen relax relax relax. And admittedly in the "relax" strides I was thinking "in 3 strides I have to do X" and trying to fix the bend and the balance (neither of which were allowed to cheat) AND count, there was enough to do immediately that my little brain couldn't race so far ahead. And it worked. Rather brilliantly.

So I was pretty thrilled.

Jumping was just for fun. Our standard w/u fence that rapidly became a bounce and shortly after became 2 bounces. For the pony who's never done bounces *g* hahaha but she was pro. And I... I was jumping w/ one hand behind my back and no contact *g* Fairly entertaining. I've done the hands on hips or airplane style before but this was a first for me. I'm not actually convinced this was effective but it was fairly entertaining. N quite frankly after all the lightbulbs of the flat part of the ride, the jumping was just for fun :)


Funny thing was I couldn't figure out how to do it your way at first... My first thought was they would fall flat on their faces, but I don't know why!!!

Very kewl to have such a neat exercise ;)


Nah Jen my way's much easier... Hind end's already going that way so you just let it *keep* going that way AND you end up w/ the right leg underneath for the canter depart. Takes next to no thought *g* But the other way was more entertaining.


Post a Comment