You ever just not connect the dots for so long, that when you finally do you actually feel a bit stupid for taking so long?
Yeah, that’s me right now.
I have been super transparent about my issues at the canter. I have recently, actually since my latest lesson with Kate Farrell, realized I am actually riding against Dawns natural movement and if I want to have an success, I need to knock it off. I also realized 2 other very key items: I need to give my hands more (no duh), and make sure my inside leg is on at the girth.
It’s always the simple things that make the biggest differences, isn’t it?
So I rode Dawn Sunday and had a little jump school. I rode her in a 3 ring french link elevator because she has been so strong to jump. I used 2 reins, and unfortunately the bit, reins, or both seemed to stress her out. After a few times over the single x we were jumping, I took off the rein I had on the second ring and rode off the snaffle and she was much happier.
My mom who was watching, mentioned I wasn’t working on the giving that I had been with Kate. So I decided to end the jumping and just get some good trot work in, giving. Here’s a video of how well that went for me.
One thing you can see clearly- to the left I ride with my hands low and very little giving, and you can see shes tense and heavy. To the right my hands are higher (too high really) and giving, and she’s settled in the contact and not nearly as tense. Also- where is my leg? by the girth.
So with that in mind, I rode Monday with no eye son the ground to correct me. I started with giving, stretching in the trot, counter flexion and true bend, and transitions. She settled quickly and felt really good, so I asked for the canter. We went around once and it was ok, but she has had a tendency to come up by the letter A and break in the canter. This happened again Monday, so we trotted and regrouped and I asked for the canter again.
She had a decent canter going, and then my brain went ‘hey you, where’s your inside leg?’ and I went ‘oh yeah’ and put it by the girth. Holy crap, she settled right into the canter, bent through the ribs, and didn’t.loose.the.canter.
So that’s my moment of feeling really dumb for not connecting it sooner. I always have a panic in the canter and stop thinking, so to hear my brain whirl into gear and do something different was very promising. It also means I feel more hopeful for show season because our canter made progress for the first time in forever. I was so excited that when I asked her to come back to trot (which she did so nicely!) I dropped my reins and patted her like crazy.
So what I’m thinking was happening- I had no control over the inside hind leg, and therefor was not influencing it positively. I also believe my leg was slipping back and egging her on in the canter to go faster- I move my leg back to ask for the transition, why would she not think that? With less flat speed and more of a step under, I was able to let go of my inside rein, her head dropped from giraffe to nice, and we finally had our sh*t together.
Amen for that little voice in your head!