Wednesday, September 14, 2011



~  I swear this was what Copper looked like while I was riding at a walk today!  ~

Actually, one could never accuse Copper of being pokey, but that’s half the problem.   We had a private riding lesson today with my fabulous instructor and came away with some homework:

~  Shoulders up and fingers closing during a downwards transition.

~  Sharp tap/tug upwards on the outside rein when he pulls down in a downwards transition.  He leans somethin’ fierce at times, and this trick is exactly what I need to combat that. 

~  Wiggle ring finger, outside rein during an upwards transition.  My word, this helped SOOOO much with our walk/trot transition today!  Remember last time I commented on Copper’s walk/trot transition on a straight line and how awful it was?  Well, with a little wiggling and encouragement he moved into a trot softy, gathering himself up into the bridle and carrying the bit.  It was lovely!  : D

~  Ride FAT 20m circles. At one end of the arena I’m okay, but at the other I’m busy following a line in the dirt that isn’t a proper 20m circle.  It’s probably more like a 15m circle.  Or an egg….  : P  Must work on this! 

~  Soft hands & elbows; thumbs up on top {I have a terrible habit of curling my wrists and dropping my thumbs inwards}.  Actually, this one is interesting to me, because I happen to know that the tension in my back &/or hands & elbows is due to the particular battle of wills that Copper and I get into.  He says “No!” and I say “I don’t think so!!” and so it goes on….  However, I discovered half the problem today was, funnily enough me, because of this:

~ SEAT SEAT SEAT while walking.  I was complaining that while Copper’s trot work had improved today, his walking work seemed to have gone down the tubes for no apparent reason.  My instructor explained that most, if not all horses, have much more impulsion at a trot or canter than at the walk and therefore carry themselves and the bit much better in those gaits.  And that’s why you really need to sit down and use your seat at the walk.  I went “Ooooh!” and had a light bulb moment.

See, Copper has always been extremely forward going, to the point where he used to jump forward a mile whenever you applied any leg.  I have been so used to riding him like that that I have never had the need to actively use my seat {pushing with every walk stride} when collecting him at the walk.   However, now that we have been training dressage for over a year, he has slowed down naturally and now I have to provide the impulsion I didn’t have to before!!  Duh! 

So in a nut shell, if I drive with my seat and soften my hands his walk work should pick up nicely again.  Yay!  And this is why I get a lesson every week because I am pretty sure this would have taken me ages to work out by myself, if I ever figured it out at all!  >  <  

See ya!


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