Thursday, March 24, 2016

Obvious improvements in Clair (and myself) since clinic!

I wrote down everything I could remember learning at the February clinic and have been applying it religiously. I'm starting each ride with ten minutes of walk on a long rein, using alternating seat bones to develop an energetic walk, and asking for bend with my seat only. Suzanne called this "establishing the conversation," and it has made a huge difference in Clair's forwardness. I can come off the walk work into an energetic, in-front-of-my-leg working trot. No more kicking and nagging to get Clair to shift gears. I've also been riding my canters big, big, big, and straight, before asking for any collection. She's feeling much less sticky in canter now. Finally, she's starting to go reliably with her poll up. She still ducks from time to time, but I'd say we've reached 85% poll up. I can see the difference in her trot -- she has freedom in her shoulder and bouncier suspension. She's actually got an uphill look to her at times now!

I love how far she's stepping underneath in canter, especially to the right. Her inside hind comes all the way under the girth! Watch video #3 to see some textbook simple changes through trot. They're pretty fab, if I do say so myself.

High poll, uphill trot!

Look at the inside hind leg reach!

The next clinic is planned for June 25-26. I hope we make as much progress as we did in February!

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