A quick list of things that I have learnt since I started riding Gordon:
- Use my body weight to turn. If I angle my torso subtly towards the inside it automatically puts my lower body in the correct position to support and turn him without needing to apply any rein aids.
- Keep my hands high (or hands together). This is really necessary to keep him together.
- Check him by tilting my right rein slightly if he starts to raise his head out of frame.
- Half-halt and tilt simultaneously to ensure this means he is coming from behind and framing correctly.
- When leg yielding, point my hips in the direction that I am travelling – again to ensure that my body weight is delivering the right aids for the correct movement.
- When asking for an extension, give him a bit more freedom with my hands and tilt my pelvis up a bit.
To work on for tomorrow’s ride:
- Flexing in and out and leg yielding on the circle to get him more supple and “real” round (from behind).
- Work on upward transitions (esp. walk-trot).
- Work on maintaining the canter until I ask for the downward transition.
In addition, there is a new goal from my favourite riding blog, Horse Listening, that I want to try and incorporate into my next ride to see how it affects things:
“Some people can easily feel the horse’s hind end while riding. If you can feel the inside hind as it lifts, you can lightlyrelease the inside rein as it comes through. If you have trouble feeling the hind legs, use the front inside shoulder as a reference point.
As the shoulder starts to move back, release the rein.
As the shoulder moves forward, take up pressure.
During the rein release, squeeze your legs for a short energy burst from the hind end. This will enable the horse to reach further underneath the body as you lighten pressure in his mouth.”
Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how it goes!