I like to ride with JJ Tate when I get the chance and she sometimes gets down to Middleburg, VA and I can often snag a lesson. JJ texted me that she was going to be in Middleburg on Wednesday but Clifford (the truck) was in the shop, so no way for me to get to a lesson. And, since Bali had a couple of weeks off, I wanted to give her a week or so of work before an intense lesson.
But, I was able to go watch a couple of lessons. Very nice, educated riders. I took a few notes on my phone, and will jot them down here for easier reference.
Three things we should work on in every ride
- Frame changes, riding the horse long and low, and up in the poll and in between.
- Length of stride changes, longer and shorter, feel the bending of the joints behind, this is tempo changes and transitions inside each gait.
- Bending lines and straight lines. Don’t get stuck on a circle or just going around the entire ring. This is body strengthening.
We have to teach the young horses to carry more behind.
Canter exercise, from a nice 20m canter circle, come down quarter line, leg yield a few steps, this is for obedience, and leg yield from the seat bone, not just the calf. Then, ride a smaller circle, your horse should be carrying himself from the inside leg. Then, come down the quarter line again (from a circle as the circle promotes collection) and ride in shoulder fore, no speeding up. Then do a tiny half pass, circle, then leg yield again.
On the horse who was in the ring, this was modified a bit the second direction and the half pass was skipped, and when the rider asked why, JJ said that in this horse’s case, he was wanting to trail the outside hind, and asking for the half pass would have made that easier for him, so for that day, it was not the right exercise for him, that direction.
Keep the horse through and round through the outside knee, outside rein and outside elbow.
I think this next note was from the next horse/rider combination.
Slow sitting trot, much slower than what you’d show with, shoulder in on a twenty meter circle, let the neck fall out of the shoulders, you want the muscle on the top of the neck carrying, then haunches in on the circle.
JJ spent a lot of time on exercises to strengthen the horse, these are things to make your horse more supple and strong, so that he can carry himself better when you do go to shows.
There are three evasions horses have; speed, inversion, and crookedness. Work to catch them.