Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Horse Does All The Work

It started with a search for the center...
trying to get my stirrups even...
...the center of the horse, that is.
Coach noticed that my right leg wasn't carrying it's fair share of the weight.
So, she took a series of photos...

Centered on the horse, but not in the saddle...
I tried to do some adjusting, and found myself here:
Oops! Overshot it!
Oh, the trials of a roly-poly horse!
Finally, I found a relatively happy medium.
As good as it gets, for now...
My right leg still wasn't cooperating, but it was better than before.  My heel came down *most* of the time...

After I finished my work with Cricket, I switched over to the Fancy Pony for a serious dressage ride.  I built on my spiral tool, which we had been incorporating in our daily work.  My Pony is getting more supple as well as quieter in the bridle!  Coach just sat back and watched our warm up without a word.

I moved into canter work.  Once Fancy Pony felt calm, loose, and relaxed, I cantered her into a spiral (our first attempt!).  Coach jumped right in to help:
  • Keep your weight more to the inside.  When your weight come toward the outside, you lose the bend.
  • Sit back and sink down into her back!  She is strong enough to carry you, now.
  • Send her more forward!  Don't lose the energy!
I could feel the inside hind getting more active! I could feel Fancy Pony exploring a new facet of her athleticism!
So, I tried to carry that canter down the long side of the arena.  At the other end, I gathered her around the corner then sent her down the other long side with more power while trying to maintain the same speed.  After one more short end, we rode a shallow canter loop, and she didn't try to switch leads! She felt so flexible!
I packaged her for a downward transition that was mostly successful (we can't have it all and all at once, now, can we?) before taking a well-deserved walk break.  Then, we played the game the other direction.
Chatting and theory ensued during afore mentioned walk breaks, and I was trying to describe the incredible feeling of Fancy Pony's naughty  passage-like trot...
Then, I had the thought...  Why not try to get it on purpose?

I gathered the pony and added energy to the walk.  We marched right along as I packed her shorter... shorter...  just a little more...
I sat back and asked for the trot.  She stepped into it.  It was almost "the one".  I asked for more energy...  Shorter package... She lifted me and tried to oblige...  Then, Coash's voice broke into my concentrated effort:
"You need to work her more in this frame!"
You mean, I'm not asking too much of her?
"She can do it, so start asking for just a little at a time.  Every ride."

Under a watchful eye, we explored the more collected trot to her current potential.
"When she resists, instead of giving her more room to stretch out, send her sideways."
We went down the rail on 4 tracks!  Her neck wasn't overbent; she was filling my outside rein.  We couldn't maintain THE SAME angle, but we could maintain a consistent feeling.
We cantered from this trot, and it was GLORIOUS!  Balanced!  Cadenced! I was riding a rocking horse!!
When the cantered tried to fall apart, I still sent her sideways - and she would pull it back together!

The hardest part was the transition back to the trot.  I would start to ask, and she would try to just fall down into the trot, so I would have to send her forward in the canter again before she could finish the transition.  I had to make enough room for her to step down without giving her so much room that she fell on her face.
We finally found the "good enough for now" place and came down to the trot, then the short marching walk... Then, we walked it out.  And walked it out. And geared ourselves up for the other side.  Because we can't go around being all awesome on one side and not on the other...

We both were sweating.  When I allowed my seat to get too light on one side, I felt a distinct 'squish' when I corrected it... It came across as just another sensation in my tiny space that was full of sensations...  I was asking Fancy Pony for some seriously tough stuff.  I had never asked her to hold it together this much for this long.  And she was completely game to play along!

We played with the downward transitions.  It got ugly a few times as FP inverted and I sent her briskly forward to pull herself together before we tried again...  And, then, we went for it: Trot to Halt.  We actually got a halt with no walk steps that wasn't abrupt! I squealed!  I saluted!  I praised and walked out!  I called it the end of our ride, because, really, where do you go from that??

Coach insisted on documenting my sweat marks after all of our collection work...
because the horse does all the work, right?


  1. LOL that butt mark...

    1. ...the **REAL** reason for full-seat breeches... LMAO!

  2. I never realized how much I don't fit round horses until I bought a lanky one, haha



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