Straightness and canter squares

One of the common themes in my lessons this summer has been lengthening Bali’s neck. She’s got a short, thick neck, and so it takes a bit of extra work to really get her to stretch out from the base of the neck. Once there, her gaits all improve, her back swings more, and there is more forward.

I had a moment of frustration with myself because I felt like I was starting out my ride getting her stretching down really well, but not enough with eyes on the ground. But,now when I ask for more stretch, it is there. Bali is more solidly on the bit and getting more responsive to the leg. The walk is tons better. I was trying to memorize how that bigger, swingier walk felt so that I can reproduce it at home.

When we got to the canter work, there was half pass to flying change fairly early, and I was not remembering all my steps, and so was back to asking for the change when Bali was positioned at the wrong place, so I had a couple that were late behind, a couple that were with flair, and a couple with a gigantic buck. They got better when I remembered to get her straighter and made sure that she had enough jump in her canter. Since as a whole, the changes didn’t feel so great, I asked, and James decided to have me work on the square.

First, at the walk, each corner, a quarter pirouette. Then, canter. The corners come fast on a 15m or so square at the canter. Ultimately this square is a 10m square, but we’re not there yet. I’d lengthen the straight, then collect for the corner. This served two purposes, Bali had to really get in front of my leg to get a quick enough response, and she had to be really collected. I was taking two sides of the square to get between lengthen and collected, but our reaction time was getting better so I think with some practice we’ll be able to do this for each side and corner of the square.

Bali is ready to go back to full work. I’ve given a bit of a vacation because she seemed to need it mentally. She seems to be back her usual self.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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