Tonight I had a lesson on Bali with Inga. About a month ago we’d had a great lesson and worked on some really collected canter, pirouette canter steps. I told Inga that we’d worked on that a couple of times, but then it got muddled, so I quit working on that and went back to things I am clear on. When you ride alone, you really need to make sure you are generally making forward progress, or at the minimum not backsliding. One thing is to be careful to know when to stop if you are unclear as a rider.
First, we addressed that last bit of resistance that Bali gives me. I’ve been noticing it, she is almost on the bit, but that last little bit of give in the poll, she just resists a bit with her underneck, and I need to hold and wait for it. When she does give that last tiny bit, she gets a bit loftier. I have to remember to use the outside rein to tell her where to keep her head. We did some counter flexion and flexion at the poll, and there is a German word Inga used, which I need to learn, but I would kill the spelling, and that helped me feel when she was coming into the outside rein, and that helped me get to straight. Not overbending.
It ended up being a really good lesson focusing on the outside rein and contact. I struggle with the right bend, and upon a bit of discussion, Inga thought I might be blocking Bali with my left thigh. This is consistent with what I worked on with Ashley, and it is hard to maintain that solid outside contact from the hip AND stay loose and relaxed in the thigh and seat. Essentially, I’m still working too hard, yet letting it all go by not keeping a consistent outside contact. It is improving, but we have a ways to go! Good thing I have no deadline and plenty of horses to practice it with!
So, I really focused on staying loose in my thighs, no gripping, and just using some lower leg or the whip for more forward AND keeping that outside contact. And, it was working well.
In the end, I had a really nice canter, and a bonus, there was a lady who was riding after me, who was watching my lesson and she complimented my seat. I’ll take it! She also liked that I’ve had Bali since she was a yearling. She was going to be riding her 3 year old, and it gave her hope that an amateur can have a horse from a young age and progress with lessons.