Bali lesson report – getting easier

I’ve fallen behind on lessons, the holidays, James moved to a new barn, schedules, etc. So, we’re trying to get back into a regular schedule again, but I’m doing “make-up” lessons. I had one on Wednesday evening and then this morning. One thing I love about Bali is how steady she is. We’ve been going to a few new spots for lessons, and she just calmly looks around each new barn, walks down aisles between pastures, up gravel roads, she just radiates self confidence and it is nice to not worry.

I’m still struggling with the core-muscle coordination to switch from left to right aids without wanting to go to my reins, transitions between shoulder-in left to renvers right, or half pass left to half pass right. I did have a glimmer of realization that likely the main reason I have a hard time applying my new inside leg is because I’m leaning to the outside. Now, I’ve been getting correction on that for a few months now, and I am mentally working hard but I’m having a hugely hard time getting my proprioception aligned with reality.

Wednesday, I discussed this with James, thinking I need to find a Feldenkreis practioner, or some sort of physical therapy type exercises, off the horse to get better at activating these muscles, but while I’m at it, I just work on sitting taller with a longer, steadier leg. I did some shoulder in right to shoulder in left down center line on Wednesday, and that uncovered some holes. Then we moved to the half pass left to right (and vice versa) and it got a bit smoother as the lesson progressed.

Today, the lesson was awesome. We were at a nice 20mx60m indoor, and having the exact arena is really nice. It helps with geometry and good circles, and getting the feel for how things will ride in a test. A too big arena is great for space, but it almost makes it harder at shows when it comes to geometry.

Bali warmed up nicely. We had mirrors, so we had a discussion on how to get rounder and lower without shortening the neck, or closing the throatlatch angle too much (breaking too far at the poll). It is definitely something that takes practice and feel to implement, when to ask for more bend, when to release, how to engage the abs to push the head and neck out and down.

We worked on some compressing and extending the gaits on a circle, once they were good.

Half steps are coming along, then turn on the haunches a few times. I was loosing focus and not remembering to use all my aids. We did some work keeping our downward transitions uphill and forward. The collected trot was lovely and so soft to sit, it flowed into half pass, both directions, we had mirrors so that helps me SEE when I’m leaning one way or the other. Again, half halt on the outside rein and support for my half pass, otherwise I end up letting the haunches trail behind.

Canter half pass was also nice, but since Bali was attempting to change when I straightened, we did not do any changes. It was half pass to center line, canter shoulder in to turn the direction we were going. Direction changes was through a walk, turn on the haunches, depart.

I still need to ride Tanq & Sparkle today. And I need to write up new ads for Tanq. It is time to really market him more places than Dreamhorse. He’s in a lovely place, training wise, and needs his own person.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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