Since my trip to Riveredge and the single lesson with Linda Zang, I haven’t been taking many lessons. My budget needed a break, I’ve been doing some farm improvements which eat up my money. (Oh to be loaded with money!!!)
But, when JJ texted me on Thursday to let me know she was going to be down here in the Middleburg & Waterford area, I decided to sign up for a lesson. It was at a lovely farm, only about 25 minutes away, which is much easier to get to than 3 hours to Chesapeake City, MD!
I’m glad I went.
We talked about what I’d been working on in the past 6 weeks. Initially, lots of the bending, getting her off my leg, then after my lesson with Linda, more focus on straightness. I need to start working on multiple aspects each ride. Straightness & bending, forward and back in the gaits, and the others will come back to me later…
I need to use a longer leg aid for Bali for the forward. Less quick, but keep asking for a longer duration. This seemed to work pretty well.
We did some trot, walk to a full turn on the forehand (TOF), focusing on really getting her hind engaged and stepping under. As soon as I finished the full TOF, we trotted out. Did that 2 or 3 times each direction, and then we went to a snowman exercise. I was cantering a 20m circle and then transitioned to trot before the centerline, then changed direction, trotting a 10m circle. Trotting to the right I need to ride outside leg to inside hand for a while to really get Bali engaged. After a good 10m trot circle (we had to circle twice a couple of times) I would go back to the 20m circle and canter that, back to trot, rinse & repeat. Both directions.
We also cantered a circle, half pass to a smaller circle, I have to remember to feel that collection feeling, like I had on Chip, and release, then leg yield back out to the larger circle. Remembering to check that I could go back to half pass at any point. This was something Steffen had people checking, make sure the horse isn’t just falling into leg yield or half pass, check to see that you can switch back.
After a walk break, JJ asked me what, besides the flying changes are my issues in 3rd level. I completely blanked out about medium & extended trot, but I mentioned that I sometimes let the haunches lead in half pass, I’m learning to be more refined in my aids, and I need to remember to keep riding for the entire test. I have this tendency to finish a movement, the stop riding for a few steps, which greatly impacts my scores…since it takes me time to get back into the proper place. I also mentioned that I sometimes struggle a bit with shoulder-in to renvers.
We worked on shoulder in to renvers some. First, it was shoulder in. I need to keep my outside leg on. Not too much bend, and really feel her pushing and using her hocks and back. After we had a nice shoulder in, it was gradual shift to renvers. I think it was the easiest it has ever been! It was really nice. Going left, easier. Going right, I really have to keep my outside leg engaged and on. Make sure to not overbend her.
At the end, JJ had me working on mediums…oh…those. That’s right. We are so terrible at those that I blocked them from my mind! I worked on really getting a medium trot. I had to really hold my grab strap to keep my hands quiet and try to keep my elbows soft. Posting longer and higher to encourage a longer step. We kept going and going. At the end, I think there was some real medium. I have to do this some every ride. JJ was saying that some horses have to be taught to do the extensions, and Bali seems to be a canter sort of horse, so we have to teach her how to go up the stairs 2 at a time (I liked that visual) and just be patient. She is a short coupled horse so extensions are not her strongest point, but we can definitely get them much better.
JJ said Bali looks better than she’s ever seen her so my work over the past 6 weeks is really working. She also says I need to be working on Fourth level stuff which will make Third level easier.
Since Doug & Suzy came with me, I have pictures!!!! They might be up tomorrow.