Tonight was my lesson night and I took Bali. I’ve been practicing that haunches in on Tanq at the walk, feeling like a complete clutz, but I think that the practice on him is helping. He is green at this, so if I can get my body aligned he can do the haunches in…if I don’t…well, no haunches in for me. This is to the left though. Right, I seem to have coordination. If you ever took piano lessons, or any musical instrument, and were learning some new, complex fingering, you always tried to slow the tempo way down, practice the intricacies, over and over, until suddenly, your body is doing what your brain has been trying to tell it to do…well, that is how this feels, but it is not the fingering for a complex musical number, it is figuring out which core muscles need to fire, where to shift your weight, how to get the right feel. So hard to DO!
Back to Bali, the happy news, I actually was getting good comments on her activity and engagement right off the bat…all nice and listening, until something was spook worthy. Then, suddenly, spin-bolt (Bali style) was the order of the day. So, we put her to work in some shoulder in. I’m finally starting to feel when I lose connection and she comes above the bit, and I’m figuring out how to fix it! As in, good reactions, not just sitting there doing the same thing over and over, hoping that this time she’ll magically be awesome while I do the same thing.
What is the did Einstein say about insanity? Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
After some trot work, we came back and finished our warm up with the canter. It was lovely. And shockingly, she did not buck in the canter at this point. Then it was a walk break, followed by more work on the half-steps. Bali is starting to understand this portion of the lesson. It is, at most, 10 minutes, likely less, of walking around the arena, very collected, lightening my seat, while James taps either her croup or hind legs to encourage engagement. Then, every once in a while, she’ll get a few steps of baby’s first piaffe, fall apart. It is definitely fun.
After that half-step work, she is usually really sitting and so it is onto half pass practice. The right half pass was superb, the left (formerly best direction) was too sideways, and felt too fast…so it was some shoulder in down centerline, half pass two steps left, shoulder in straight, half pass two steps left, straight, rinse repeat. That got her listening and moving nicely. After that, another walk break, and then canter work.
So, in an effort to continue progressing, tonight in my lesson, we changed up how I was asking for a lead change. Bali’s changes have been better, but tonight it was back to late behind right to left. Was it me? the weather? laziness? soreness? Dunno, but after working with the exercise that had previously been working, and it was just not there tonight, James had me take the whip to the right side, and when I came down the quarter line in counter canter, I brought her shoulders towards the wall, sent her forward and added a tap to her right hind to get her more active there. The first time I did it, she changed leads behind, stayed in front and almost tripped. I failed to get my timing right a couple of times, but when I got it right, it was working. I think I’m starting to be able to feel dreaded late change, which is good for correcting it.
I think she was glad for her new haircut! It was pretty warm & humid tonight. She worked really hard.