April 2, 2011

Blown Away

Ok, I might have been a big meanie and lied to you yesterday. But I can't resist a good prank. Life is too short to take things seriously all the time. Or very often. Or ever.

This afternoon sees us just back from a jumping lesson.  In the 30 mph wind. David had us do a new exercise during our warm up death circles -- THAT WAS NOT A CIRCLE. I almost fell off Solo in shock. To supple and engage the hind leg at the trot, he simply had us leg yield away from the long side for half of its length and then leg yield back to the track before the corner. The catch is to not let that shoulder bulge in either direction. And get it done before running out of long side!

Then we picked up the canter. *sigh* Back on the circle. But David introduced some new finesse here too. To really get Solo round over his back, he had me open my inside rein to flex his neck, push him into the bend with inside leg. Then, when Solo softened and gave, to straighten him with the outside rein while riding him forward into it with both legs. It created, quite simply, a VERY awesome feeling canter and put him right THERE on my outside rein in a whole new way. My brain: OMG, THAT'S what that feels like! Solo's back was so rounded up beneath me, I felt like I was sitting on the side of an apple or something.

There were a lot of subtleties to this and a lot of feel involved. You have to keep your contact steady in both reins. The horse must keep tracking forward from behind at all times. Solo resisted and fought it with every evasion he had because it's HARD. He went sideways one way, he went sideways the other way, then he threw his head in the air, then he gaped his mouth open. Nooooooooooooo......was all he had to say about it. So you have to ride through each resistance, keeping your cues steady and consistent and then softening when he finally gives in and goes round. It is very hard work and, again, ALL about timing and feel. I can't even put into words the dozens of little nuances and adjustments I had to make. Correcting the shoulder, correcting the poll, correcting the neck, correcting the haunches. BUT, when Solo did finally soften and come round underneath me, it was an amazing feel to have him both light in my hand AND up and powerful and muscly underneath me.

Oh yeah, the jumping was ok too.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh! I worked on that in my lesson Thursday. Isn't it fun when it all comes together? And I'm sure Solo was thinking "Let me jump on YOUR back and make you bend and activate your hind legs and use your back."