Keep the Bend!

“Keep the Bend” is my mantra from today’s lesson on Bali.

As I have entered a show for next weekend, this was my last lesson before the show. I entered to ride Second Level Test 3 on both Saturday and Sunday, and Third Level Test 1 as well on Saturday.

Show prep included:

– Practicing halts at the letters, making sure I am at the letter, so I’m not early or late. I was asking for it too early, when the Bali’s shoulder was just at the letter.

– Practicing a straight center line, not overshooting with the haunches or shoulders, really straight. I’m going to set up some cones for myself to have a visual “really straight by this point” reminders. Inga did not understand my use of cones, but I think it comes from being the sort of person who likes deadlines. A cone is a deadline. “Get it done by this point’, otherwise I just meander along in my procrastination mode, “Let’s just monkey around with this and fix that over here, and oh wait…we have used up that whole movement”.

-Don’t forget to keep true bend in counter canter. I’ve been practicing counter bend in counter canter so much that I need to remember to keep the true bend.

-right now, on Bali, over bend just a tiny bit, particularly in my 10m canter circles, she comes above the bit when I let her go too much.

-Use my corners, every corner is a gift to get a good bend.

The other thing I realized is that my outside half halts have become (or always been) too sideways…and by that, I mean, instead of just closing my hand or elbow back to my body, I end up moving my hand laterally and even crossing over the withers. So that is something to keep in my focus. I’m still trying to find the perfect outside rein. Not enough too much not enough too much…

One my simple changes, I need to make sure not to rush through them. Four to five walk steps, then my new lead.

Then Suzy had a lesson on Harry and they looked good!

Then I had a half lesson on Neuf. Having Kristin ride him twice a week is really doing good things. He was really sold in his connection through the bit, and super nice. He was so good that we called it good after a short lesson. His bend was nice, I worked on some diagonals, when to keep the old bend, and when to change to the new bend, keeping it smooth. We only cantered right, but he felt really nice and so we ended on a “you’re an awesome dude” note. On Neuf, Inga noted that I need to be willing to take a more solid contact on both my horses. That is a huge part of why my hands get busy, I end up pulling my hands back to keep the contact, when I should just shorten the reins a touch and keep that feel throughout, pushing him forward to that feeling, not pulling back to get that feeling.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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