The rest of my horses didn't get the memo about my upgraded status to FEI rider. It seems that from Sunday to Monday they remained essentially horses. Not that I expected anything different, but horses do have a way of keeping things real. There were water troughs to clean out because a certain Friesian cross named Breanna thought standing with her front legs in the water was good summer pasture fun. Augie destroyed yet another fly mask leaving his eyes exposed to sun and bugs for hours at a time necessitating my tending to them with a cool rag.
Philipe and I set to work on the homework from our clinic last week with Rachel Saavedra which somehow feels a long time ago. Video review was in order to affirm my bearings. Our greatest accomplishment in the clinic with trot work was finding a much better swing through his middle. For anyone who has ridden Spanish horses knows, they can move the front and pedal fast behind, but the back can do absolutely nothing the entire time. Steep, and I mean steep leg-yields were in order. Now we are riding with transitions and also on a circle with transitions from collected to medium to high collection all the while focusing on what the middle is doing, that he stays in FRONT of my leg, and I continue to let him pull me through the reins.
For a few moments during the clinic we took this into lateral work down the rail. I was to then think of sitting him down behind with my elbows. WOW! I had felt this before, but only through stumbling upon it. Her phrasing gave it a distinct repeatable command. Now, we have a trot.
In the canter it was much the same idea with some new concepts on my seat. As a former jumping rider, I like to get in that pseudo half-seat/rear end out behind me mode. Again, Rachel gave me some great ways to think about what I was doing and help me put words to what I want to do. I've been able to repeat it. Our other task was in regards to thinking about our pirouette canter and for me the ability to get the hind legs quicker which I also need for the tempis.
The task was to learn to ride 10m circles in highly collected counter canter. Can we say challenging? Oh, but what fun. The only way I can verbalize the feeling right now is to say I felt my horse "full" in all my aids- equally full. By that I mean taking each rein with suppleness, puffed up under my seat and surging equally off of both legs directly centered between them. I felt that for about 3 strides at a time here and there, but I have something to aim for. Stabbing in the dark is a horrible feeling.
Its a busy day with lessons tomorrow. Tevis is on Saturday. We'll be cheering on Langdon and his horse Kid. I'm sure I'll get a bit of Endurance fever again. Maybe someday....