Saturday, June 7, 2008

Canter extraordinaire

Tonight I spent about ten minutes at both trot and canter actively asking Willow to carry herself higher in front. I sent her around the arena at both gaits with short reins and my hands held quite high, half halting and driving. The trot was very good, but, oh my, what a canter! The half halts were coming through to where I could feel Willow bouncing up off the ground and catching all sorts of air. Whee! Now, I know high hands are not classical, so I'll only be doing this for short stretches at a time, but I'm going to keep doing it in future rides for the time being. Willow loves long and low so much -- I have to be pretty assertive to get her to understand what I want. Gotta build up those base-of-the-neck muscles.

Sam is doing much better. His pretty brown peeper is once again visible, and the eyelid looks very nice. He's also back to eating crunchy food with his pearly-white teeth.


Daun said...

Excellent work. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about the use of high hands. They very much have a place in classical training!

Also, in Paul Belasik's Riding Towards the Light, he discusses the use of high hands.

Good luck!

halfpassgirl said...

Thanks for the support! I read Riding Towards the Light a long time ago; obviously I need to read it again. The article you provided the link to was fascinating.

My long-time clinician Wolfgang always said he didn't care much about what the head was doing; he wanted you to focus on what the engine was doing. Last night Willow's engine was revving like never before, so I know something was going right! I just have to remain aware of my hands so I don't get fixed into a "high hands" habit.