Of all the things Rachel Saavedra said to me this weekend in my lessons on Philipe and Ernie, this one little gem from today stuck in my brain through the exhaustion of a very busy past three days.
There were other beautiful and wonderful gems and as I sit here watching my lesson from today on Philipe (and marveling at a huge a-ha moment with him while nursing very tired legs) I still keep going back to this bit of clarity. Yes, like she said the literature says prepare with half-halts and this remains true. I tried fishing through the video footage to see who she gives the credit too for learning to FINISH with half-halts as well, but it is essentially to finish with the horse in balance prepared for something new not finished with well.... being finished. This habit of which I'm often guilty sets our horses up to think, "when are we done, when are we done?" They, or at least my big would-rather-leave-the-hind-legs-a-little-out-behind horse, Ernie are usually looking for the moment they get to stop carrying rather than staying on the ready. Finishing with a half-halt says to the horse get ready.............. and now you may rest. The transitions will be more crisp, the attitude more attuned, and the aids ultimately can be relaxed without as much risk of the horse deflating like a popped balloon every time the rider eases off.
That is the immediate tid-bit I wanted to share. More is coming in the next few days. Oh, my is more on its way. I'm astounded at the ground we covered in two days on two horses working upper levels and riding just a handful of changes, no test movements, and a lot of transitions and voltes. Voltes!- worthy of an entire blog post and more. ;-)
Needless to say, I have plenty of information to explore yet again.