Julia and I had a lesson on Friday and we really just picked up from where we left off last time. I had been working on my 'homework' of the outside aids (for turning and straightness) and asking her to step under through the transitions. It was a cloudy, foggy morning and my phone lens was a bit fogged up which led to some interesting effects.
|Happy with this halt - both of us look ready for whatever is coming.|
Carmen was in a good place mentally from the start of getting ready and through the whole lesson. We started with a hack that Carmen led on a loose rein. I've been playing with neck reining on our hacks and she's figuring it out. I really want to get her somewhere that we can move out a bit so I'll have to work on it.
Right from the start Shanea had us counter flexing to get her on the outside aids. In all honesty when we started on this in the past I wasn't convinced that this could help. Mostly because Carmen often wants to look outside for danger anyway. But this time I could start to feel her getting straight and understanding the ask rather than looking out with her shoulder popped to the inside and ready to spin. Instead, I could feel her centre under herself.
|normally going to the left she's overbent to the inside, |
I'm quite happy with her straightness and stepping under here
From there we then added in asking her to flex and soften to the inside. I could feel her respond and, instead of fighting it, lifting herself and filling the outside. It was super cool and Carmen also seemed to enjoy how it made her body feel. I could feel her back lift up under me. It was amazing to feel the interplay of the outside rein, inside leg to bend and slight flex of the inside ring finger and have her flex and lift.
At times she would lose the self-carriage and fall onto her forehand and try to push her nose out. Especially during downward transitions. The tricky part was to not let her plow down but not hang on the reins. Convincing my hands that pulling was not the answer was hard but it really helped. If she got to heavy and leaning I would do a sharp correction and then release. Otherwise she will happily put her weight on the bit and drag me around.
|Half-halting right after the transition. |
I know she's overflexed here but this is so much better
than when she would plow down and pull. I also
like how she's stepping under, instead of falling on her forehand
From there we worked on canter and her left canter was absolutely the best we've ever had. it was soft and forward and malleable. She stayed with me through it all and didn't try to grab control. After that we did some work on the right rein in trot. Again, Carmen was right with me and I said to Shanea "I know that we probably should canter on the right but I feel that she worked really hard and I don't want to make her sore.' Shanea agree and we stopped with me promising to canter her right lead the next day. By then we had been riding about 90 minutes (with the hack at the beginning).
Carmen was pretty pleased with herself. When I dismounted she stood there absorbing the praise and then had a big pee. I was impressed that she kept working even though she clearly had to 'go'. I was also happy to find out that she will pee when she needs to.
|I love this photo- it looks like mixture of strength and softness|