Since I had gotten to watch almost 2 rides before mine, I had mentally prepared myself for the likely expectations.
As with many clinicians, the first day is spent on basics, usually with the clinician’s methods of getting the desired result.
The way Lisa wanted the rein action on half halts and flexion was different than I have learned. In my first ride, I was floundering a bit on exactly what she wanted. She did demonstrate with her own hands, and I was getting close, but it felt awkward and like too much work, so I started playing around with slightly different ways to move my forearms to get what it looked like was wanted, got the desired effect, and did not feel like I was working too hard. Then, the rider after me, she got on the horse and I was able to watch what she was doing, and I had a better picture in my mind.
I have always learned to ask for flexion at the poll with a turning of my thumb out, and this works, but when you take the entire hand in towards the wither, a tiny bit of a diagonal movement is how it felt and looked to me, and hold the outside rein in a position that allows the bend, you get the flexion, and not too much tilting of the nose. This also made the entire under-neck relax.
This first day, with the rides I saw, Lisa wanted close hand position, not wide. I have been riding a few young horses lately and have been using a wider, opening rein a lot, and perhaps more than I should on Bali. All the rides I watched Saturday were on either schoolmasters or on horses in a double bridle, so this seemed an appropriate expectation.
In the early part of the lesson, my pesky hands were called out. Unfortunately, instructors almost all want to talk about the hands, and my engineering brain needs to have the elbows and shoulders following as the issue, because hands can only rotate on the wrist and when told to hold them still, they get WORSE because I lock my shoulders and elbows, but I now can tell myself to tune out hands and just replace that with “bend my elbows”, and then it gets better.
A tiny video clip.
I also get too loose in my torso, I follow too much. Andrew worked with me some on this with Neuf at the walk. I need to keep my core muscles more engaged. At the trot and canter this almost feels like I am being too hard on the horse’s back, but it does not seem to look like it, and Bali is fine with it…this self perception is why we all need lessons!
Here is some canter work. There is a bit of walk initially. Dressage is boring to watch.
Not sure if that video is embedding. I am writing this on a tiny tablet, while riding in the car.
Lisa also had a lot of lifting the entire leg up and off the horse. Both at the same time. On a normal width horse, this is not usually a problem, but on Bali, that is close to hip cramping. This lifting the leg up and away serves two purposes, one to not block the horse with your thighs, and also to get more forward. If you get the horse off your leg, they will go forward when you take your leg off, and you do not need to actually kick. On Bali, this will be a stretch goal. Actually, I am working on not working so hard when I ride. Let my horse do a little more of the forward part at least!
I may come up with more when I re-watch the video clips, but I’ll include that in Day 2 write ups.