Today, I rode Bali with Ashley. Ashley was riding in the ring while JJ was teaching me yesterday and so she saw what we were working on, more bend to get better contact, so we kept moving forward and I was to keep working on that bend.
It is roasting out today, so there were many walk breaks in this work and all the work was kept appropriate to the heat and humidity. I also cold hose Bali before I tack up, which helps a lot, she dries out, then starts sweating. I also cold hose my head before I put on my helmet. Let me tell you, nobody wants a photographer around on days like today!
Start out consistent in the contact, even when walking and talking. I tend to go back to the la-di-da sort of riding, and while I am getting better about not almost swinging my hands, as if I was on a pleasant stroll, I still need to improve.
Stop nagging with my leg, I keep a bit too much leg on, when I should be in neutral. Bali needs to keep going, that way, when I add more leg, she goes forward.
When I want more forward, ask with one leg (we were doing inside leg today, improve the bend and get more forward).
We really focused on getting her feeling even in both reins. I need to be willing to ask more questions during my ride. So if Bali is not consistent into one rein, play with some counter flexion, a bit of leg, back to true bend, and just gradually getting a softer, more elastic connection, even.
Then, once I have that nice, even connection, it comes with a lovely neck position, so next, we worked on keeping that soft, even connection, during and after transitions. I need to remember that I don’t have to ride tons of steps in the new gait, trot to walk, one step of walk is enough, back to trot, keeping that good connection and bend.
In the canter, I again, worked on keeping that same even feeling, and then focused on how to collect the canter for a canter/walk transition. I was bringing my outside leg back, keeping her cantering with the inside, keeping that consistent, even feeling in both reins, and when it felt really collected, sometimes walk, sometimes canter out more forward. If she felt like she wanted to walk, that was the time to canter out more forward.
I got to practice picking up that soft, consistent contact after each of our walk breaks.
In the trot work today, we started with haunches in on the circle, then shoulder in, and Ashley had me bring my inside** shoulder back and down and notice how well it helped the bend and engagement. I can’t forget my inside leg, keeping the inside shoulder down and back, weights the inside seatbone and increases the inside leg, which both improve the bend, with the elastic rein feeling in my outside hand, it really helped the shoulder in and got her really crossing her hind underneath.
Then, I added in some half passes to center line, going right, I ended with a leg yield back to the left, she tends to fall. After each half pass, once straight on center line, I added inside leg to go more forward. Not both, inside. Both legs tend to get more up, one leg helps the bend and gets more forward. I practiced that a few times.
Next we cantered again. Really getting her to step under and use her hind legs. Ashley asked how her rein back is, and it is usually good, I did say that it disappeared a couple of times over the years, but always has come back. It is currently good. So, I walked a 10m circle, halt, rein back 4 steps, then canter, canter forward a letter (about 12 meters) canter a 10m circle and walk. Rinse, repeat a couple of times. We were going right at first, going left, Bali got stuck after the rein back, so, we worked on getting her forward, and made it easier and did walk canter transitions. The last transition was a canter trot, and it was nice. I didn’t override it, so it was a nice, forward trot out of the canter.
One last walk, and Ashley worked with me on some half steps. Those are coming along nicely and Bali does not get upset by the added pressure.
Next up is riding the heathen, who is actually much more civilized today. I am actually planning on riding him…after a quick lunge.
**Edited to correct outside to inside. My dyslexia strikes again!