Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Biggest Celebrations

In my last session with Coach, she gave me an incredible tool.  Spirals.
Now, I’ve had spirals in my tool box, but I was not utilizing them to the highest potential.  You see, I was using them to increase precision of geometry.  Coach had us increasing bend as well as increasing activity in the inside hind leg!  This maneuver is proving to be powerful!
Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product  -Eleanor Roosevelt

As we spiral in, I have to focus on maintaining, or even increasing, the bend through the body.  Fancy Pony must respect the outside aids, because these are the aids that bring her in from the larger circle.  At the same time, I must lift her shoulders with my inside thigh while I bend her around my entire inside leg.  My opening inside rein shows her exactly where to go without interfering with any of her forward momentum.  The benefits I can take away from a well-ridden spiral are multi-faceted.

We can ride straight with a more connected pony who reaches up and over for the bit.
We can increase bend without a change in direction.  This will definitely help me correct the occasional “counter bend” while riding long and low!
We can ride straight out of any part of the spiral and create a more active leg-yield with more crossing than we have previously shown! Bonus: I have more control over how many steps we take in leg-yield!!

It is funny.  Each time we work on a new level of performance, we bring it all back to the baby basics.  I revel in a powerful, yet relaxed, trot down the long side of the arena that features nothing more special than my horse reaching for my hand.  While I explore the possibilities of these improved basics, I also feel what higher level movements will be like when all the pieces come together!  It feels like sitting in the present, the past, and the future all at the same time!

So, this week, I am celebrating that tiny little thing I shall call “a better spiral” and praising the Fancy Pony profusely for each tiny step in that direction that she takes correctly.  Who’s with me?

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