If you had pre-registered, lunch was included in the auditing fee, it was a delicious chicken alfredo with broccoli and pasta, salad, and bread. A lot of lunch, but I was starving after a small breakfast and that ride on Chip, along with taking care of Bali before.
During lunch, Richard (JJ’s husband) showed me some Vienna reins and explained how to use them, which was a continuation of our conversation the prior evening. I could probably stand to take some young horse handling lessons with him!
The first to ride after lunch was on a lovely PRE stallion. I’m going to just list my notes.
Collect the canter and let him be comfortable with the pirouette canter.
Use trot transitions after the canter so that the horse does not confuse the collecting aids with the transition aids.
Then there was some discussion on flying changes, and analyzing one to determine if it is late behind, or early in front. A horse who is anticipating the change and goes in front first, looks late behind, and this can be harder to fix. Use trot/canter transitions to work on that. Too much counter canter can take away from the quality of the canter on many horses.
She did some half pass to shoulder fore on center line, and this is where Steffen said he likes to use video once or twice a week for a progress check when he is at this stage of training.
A comment about making sure the horse is stretching respectfully, not just grabbing the bit during a rest.
Sometimes in a bigger arena do a couple of changes down the long side, make them no big deal.
When moving on from changes, and into Piaffe/Passage work, he mentioned “Don’t get too complicated with the aids for piaffe and passage. At the end of the day, the horse is trotting. With more lift or in place, but trotting.”
When the horse doesn’t understand something, explain to him. Don’t do the equivalent of talking louder because someone doesn’t speak English.
The last rider was on an 11 yr old stallion.
Her horse was too straight and needed more suppling. He was also pretty “up”. He’d get a bit excited and go above the bit, she’d correct, and this is when Steffen had her give the correction, then just sit in halt for about 3 seconds, like saying “peace” to the horse. You could really see this moment working to calm the horse.
This horse needed to get off the rider’s hand in halt.
As the rider, you should feel like all your aids are being respected, then watch the video of your ride.
When you feel resistance, fix one side at a time.
Sometimes flex the horse outsidei for 5-6 strides in canter, no leadl change.
If the connection changes, it is a training opportunity.
When coming back from a lengthening and the horse resists, circle onto a leg yield to make it more productive. Bend a little for 8-10 steps until the horse is yielding.
Improving the quality of the gaits is a huge accomplishment.
My next page of notes is devoted to my next two lessons, so I’ll continue in a new entry.