I could sum up this entire lesson pretty easily:
But this is a blog, so I will elaborate.
Overall, this went really well. I'm really happy with how responsive Tris was, and we were both tired but energized by the end.
Things I need to remember:
- Especially in the warmup & early on, establish my baseline for my aids. I have a bad habit of asking ten times to get one response in leg aids. It's not like I don't know to ask once, get an answer or bring the thunder. It's that bad habit stuff. I need to be more conscious of this.
- Keep my hands forward and a loop in the reins early on to not let him for a second think there's resistance to him going forward. It doesn't matter what he's doing with his face. Just GO.
- Strong into the corners, strong out of them.
- Use diagonals but don't let that energy jam into the corner. Flow through them!
- Be thoughtful, deliberate, and firm about the use of bending and counterflexion, in two different ways.
--- First, in corners: bend into the corner, straighten out of it, almost to the point of counterflexion. Particularly useful for short sides: bend, straighten/counterflex, bend, then GO down the long side. Also useful in shorter cycles on a 20m circle; bend on the curves of the circle, counterflex on the points (where the circle touches the wall).
--- Second, in half-halts. BEND, almost over-bend, strong bend, but ask and then done. Keep inside leg asking to access his inside hind at the same time. Keep contact with the outside rein and keep that inside leg active: bend and step up INTO the outside rein.
In particular, we got one wonderful canter: found a whole new gear and he LEAPT forward, sitting down, up and charging with real impulsion right up through his back down a whole long side. It was not unlike the compressed canter approaching a jump, and my body for a second wanted to get ready to two-point so I didn't follow nearly as well in my seat as I should have. But I know the canter is there and mostly how to get it again, and I am happy with how it felt.
I was not able to replicate this quite as well in my schooling rides later that week. I erred too much on go go GO and not enough with finesse so there were some really ugly moments in the middle. But I was able to pick him back up and finish well, so I will count those as learning moments.
I really wish I could even manage every two weeks, but that's not going to happen, so that's it until March.