Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Aha moments again

IMG_0205Pudgy Pudden Pony; with no top line to speak of… Conformation shot: mid-winter -

Copper hasn’t been in regular work since the beginning of the year, between his collection of lamenesses (tendons, fistulous withers) and my own sprained ankles and ‘flues, we’ve been a regular bag of six-legged, hobbling illness and woe.

However, I’m thankful for any chance I do get to ride, and somehow, despite the absolute lack of constant progress we’re still getting along with his training. Mostly due to me figuring out how to ride him better! And happily enough, this is getting us places.

The latest breakthrough is at the trot – yay!

We worked in a walk and canter yesterday, and he was a fresh as the green grass that’s sprouting everywhere – and no wonder – trying to bolt and buck all over the place. (NB – I find it very amusing when he does try this; he’s so transparent that you can feel exactly what he’s thinking and stop him before he gets anywhere. It’s actually something I love about him; he’s too open to be dirty!)

Actually, we still managed some okay trot work somehow! I don’t know whether it was due to the canter work I’d just done, but when I went to trot I finally* twigged that my shoulders where tipping forwards just before I started posting.

Thinking it over, I probably do that to lighten my seat, and start the movement of the rising. But of course, when he’s fresh, Copper takes off like he’s back on the track and just starts bolting. I know that seems hardly possible, but seriously, OTSBs can bolt at a trot. It’s so uncomfortable and really hard to stop them or slow them down. It’s also incredibly unbalanced and quite dangerous if you have to turn sharply.

So I went – ugh, that’s not good! Try again!

I focused on dropping my shoulders back and down, holding my core upright (but not tense) and traveling forwards with my hips only.  The difference to Copper’s gait wasn’t like night and day, except that it sort of was.

He felt so much rounder and through, and swing-y. Still full of impulsion and GO, but softer. So that was good.

I feel like a bit of a dumb-nut though, I’ve always been able to ride his trot so much better at a sitting trot than rising. It’s never been easy to guide his rhythm or soften his pace while rising, I’ve to do it sitting and battle to replicate the same results when posting.

Not that I’ve been able to figure why. Stupid. To sit trot you have to hold your shoulders and core back or you’ll bump right out of the saddle. Yet I somehow never picked up that I close my hip angle, and pitch forward when posting. Only the teeniest tiniest bit, but it made a world of difference.

I already know that as soon as you close your hip angle a smidge with Copper he stiffens up and takes off… Gah. Now I finally put it together and figured out one reason for his race-y trot.

Only another little reason, but it’s one step closer isn’t it?

It gets better one step at a time…

See ya,


* After, I don’t know – years of riding…  :S

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