I had the best lesson yet yesterday. I have learned a ton every lesson but this was the most pieces of the puzzle that I have been able to put together at one time. There is so much other terminology that I will just keep it more simple. Basically all lessons up to this point have been getting my body and position in the correct place. It's broken down into the tinest bits of information that starts out overwhelming and little by little you get one part right then add another and so on until all the parts are working together to lift the withers, lift the back and bring the hindquarters down and power coming from behind. Based upon the idea that if you can get your physicality correct then it will free your horses body to be used more correctly. I just so happen to have such an intelligent and willing horse that most of the time if I get my shiznit worked out he happily gets it correct.
I am required to always control every foot. It is amazing the sublte yet profound breakthroughs that we have been making. I can see the potential of continuing with this method and can only imagine how much it is going to change myself and my horse. The physical strength it takes to ride that correct at all times is astounding. Kind of sad that it is that hard for me but at least I am headed in the right direction. I mean I can go out and work Steady at a trot and canter for an hour and be fine. But 5 minutes of trot in my lesson being forced to ride so much from my core I am exhausted. I am excited for the day that these things become second nature and I am just a far better rider because of all the hard work. I can see glimpses of it now and it is exciting. It is hard to explain in words to feel those moments when Steady is working over his back, his withers are up and is truely using his whole body correctly. It is such an amazing feeling. I had felt moments of greatness before but the huge difference now is that they are coming because I asked when I asked and how I asked it of him and that I am starting to gain the ability to recognize quicker when it is going wrong and are putting into place instincts to correct it.
Example would be yesterday's lesson there was one moment in particular that we were at a walk and previously when Steady would start to "pull the rug out from under me" essencial means his feet get quicker, his back gets lower I would have to make a correction and that correction had to involve a halt in order to properly get it all back. Yesterday I felt the rug starting to get pulled and made corrections in my own body that brought him back without needing a downward transition. Ahh explaining what I am learning is so complicated but it is so astonishing. All I can say is go buy a book from Mary Wanless I am sure no one can explain it better than her.
S (instructor) even let me canter yesterday! It felt good to know that she felt we were making enough progress to add in the canter. She had me forego trot/canter all together and said I would get better results if we did walk/canter. I was concerned Steady wasn't ready for that yet. We have one done a couple of those and that was last year. I mean two weeks ago I would get a massive explosion with asking for trot/canter. But his walk/canter transitions were lovely. She only had us go about 5 strides and walk. Focusing on upward transition, 5 good strides and a good downward transtion. Her point was that downward transitions are such a huge part of the foundation that if you wait until you have a few bad canter (trot or walk) strides and then ask for the downward transition then you will only be practicing bad downward transitions. So get the transition while the gait is still good.
I am sorry about the wordy post but I have to get some of these things down so that I can reinforce them in my own mind. You can thank me that I have left some of my lesson write ups in the drafts because while I know that I know what I mean most of it will come out as mumbo jumbo to everyone else in the world.
Well off to my jump lesson! Dressage lessons on Tuesdays, jump lessons on Wednesdays! It's a hard life, I know!