Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Much Needed Eq Check

Copper and I are on track now, and I’ve been pleased with the progress we’ve been making.

We are ready to work on our circles and yesterday managed to turn out a nice 20m walk & trot circle on the right rein. We struggled a lot with the 20m circle on the left rein – he bulges out through his right shoulder, and swivel his haunches in, so he is not bending through his body correctly, or carrying his weight on his hind end properly.

His right side is stronger than his left, so I think he finds it easier to evade rather than to carry his weight on that left inside hind. I discovered that by using strong outside aids – a closed outside rein, and activating his hind leg by using a driving aid with my outside calf – it forces him to bend around my inside leg by closing the outside ‘escape hatches’!

I know that this will improve in time though. His lateral and longitual flexion have improve his ability to work through over his back in so many ways, and I am so happy with the softness that’s coming into his work now.

We are steadily improving on rhythm and relaxation, and we even find some connection and impulsion for a few moments when we get that perfect flow between him and I. Doesn’t happen very frequently, or for very long – but I get subtle whiffs of where we are headed, and it makes me so chuffed!  I get the biggest grin, cheer like an idiot and praise and pat my horse profusely.  This is why I’m addicted to dressage. 

If you want to make your eyes bleed though, I do actually have some footage of our schooling ride on the weekend. : P  It’s not very good because I had to set up the camera at the corner of the arena, so I’ve cut a lot out from where you couldn’t see us at all!

Also, Copper has some nice moments but avert your eyes from the rider… Pllleeeeeaaase?  I just took one look at the footage and went *groan*….

My hands, which I’ve been working so hard on, need more work – they are too low still. And what the flip is up with my elbows? You can see 3 feet of daylight between my elbows and sides!  *sigh* 

I would love to chop off my lower legs and relocate them – permanently. Studying the footage I can see that my lower leg is braced reeeaaally awkwardly - particularly when rising to the trot and in the canter. It makes sense as to why I’ve been coming away with some ankle and knee pain depending on how hard/long we’ve been working.

My initial thought is yes, my lower leg is somewhat better when sitting to the trot, so I don’t think it’s a problem with my hips/seat. I actually think it’s a problem with my horse’s round build!! Not only are we having trouble with saddle fit, the roundness of his barrel also affects my position, because when I lower my stirrups to the length I like I can’t keep my calves in contact with his sides. So then I end up twisting my toes out in an effort to maintain contact, and this pushes my lower leg forwards and I brace against the stirrup.

Solution? Raising my stirrups a hole, even though I feel a little bit like a jockey. Heh. This actually helped our ride a ton on Monday, Copper was a lot more relaxed because I wasn’t braced weirdly, and my leg aids were much more effective funnily enough, because my leg was back under me where it belongs and sitting in the right place so my toes didn’t turn out so much.  So yay for equitation fixes! 

Please ignore the giant baby bump in the middle. My core looks so clunky, but I can’t fix that just yet.  Get back to me after three months or so. 

I think I need to video every weekend in the mean time to make sure that my position keeps on improving and doesn’t go backwards, because I can’t have lessons at the moment (as no instructor is going to want to teach a 25 week pregnant lady - hello liability!). At least some form of eyes on the ground helps, and I can check our progress against something more tangible than just feel. :)

See ya,


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