Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Maybe, Just Maybe
Last Wednesday, I rode with my friend Kathy. I didn't really have a plan. I wanted Kathy's feedback on Cricket's flexion issues but other than that, I was just enjoying time on the back of my horse.
While Kathy played with bending and physical connection, I just started warming Cricket up. I dropped the reins and Cricket did some lovely follow the rail. I thought that was pretty cool but wondered how much that was habit and how much was actually following my focus.
When I asked her to cut in, half way down the long side of the arena, she sort of listened and sort of didn't. I changed my focus to a trot circle and only used the rein when she actively ignored my focus and my body. We achieved some very nice right bend circles and then we switched to the left.
Cricket struggled more to the left and I'm beginning to believe she might be out just a little bit, making that arc a little more difficult. I cued her for the trot and she picked up a lovely, rhythmic trot. She fought the bend when we had to come across the arena but overall she was very good.
Towards the end, she maintained such cadence that I was really able to focus on myself and experiment with shifting my body to affect her bend. Our final circle came when I really got my inside shoulder up and back and lifted myself out of the hollow on the right side of her body and Voila! she changed her bend and followed the circle with relative ease.
We finished with a little finesse and I'm more convinced that her reluctance is more physical than mental.
Sunday I rode again. Abby was working on her posting with Bleu and I was just meandering around on Cricket. We did some more "no hands" trot circles and she followed my focus incredibly well. We opened the gate and though she was reluctant to work with me, that had more to do with slightly tender feet than anything else. Once out on the grass, she didn't dive to graze at all. I trotted her around a little and when I stopped, she just waited. I jumped off, took off her bridle and allowed her to graze.
Oh, speaking of bridles . . . I rode in my new Herm Sprenger bit and I love it. I played with bridle friendly, really taking the time I needed to get Cricket to drop the mental brace. We still need more but by the time I put the bridle on, Cricket was engaged in the game and actively seeking the bit. She still offers some resistance to actual bridling but it was much improved.
Maybe, just maybe, by fall camp we'll have enough of our freestyle riding working at L3 that we can get some audition feedback from Carol. Fingers crossed!