24th Feb 2023
Initially there was a difficulty with Winnie not bending through the fullness of his body on the left rein, he would bend and tilt his head and fall in on the shoulder rather than stepping under and lifting the shoulder.
The first exercise we did was a simple mirror of the two sides using a figure of 8 pattern, I was looking to see what Connies body did differently on each rein and asked her to feel what was happening on the right rein and then attempt to mirror it rather than thinking left & right, by thinking inside and outside.
As soon as Winnie felt Connies secure outside aid on the left rein he felt able to lift and engage correctly though the body, this means that Connie needed to focus on a supportive outside leg that he felt he could work into on this rein. Remembering that the internal rotation of the thigh bone was key here to give a constant contact through the outside of his body.
The feeling that Connie was unsure about initially was in her rein but it stems from Winnie not feeling held or secure in his body to be able to follow through into the hand.As soon as the inside and outside aids mirrored from left to right Winnie was immediately more comfortable and felt able to achieve a good way of going.
In the trot we focused not he same, but we had to use much more thigh aid as Winnie in his slight unfitness wanted to bowl forwards and ended up ruining down hill, I wanted Connie to catch Winnies energy much more between her thighs so she gave him a super supportive structure through his central body and this meant he could lighten the front end and soften the hand.
Connies feet were moving with the swing of the trot which always tells me that there's a moment within the trot cycle that the thighs are releasing enough to destabilise the leg, so we focussed especially on the outside thigh and it not loosing it's connecting, especially on the turn of the left rein.
I also wanted Connie to feel more into her feet to help with the security of the lower leg.
We then brought the trot circles onto a diamond because this exercise is brilliant for creating a balanced engaged horse that doesn't rush, the focus on the straight line and then turn, means the rider has to really support with the outside aids as well as the inside and the horse has moment on the turn to really engage before they push of to the next straight.
(Once the canter is fit enough I would recommend doing this in the canter too)
The canter was brief due to Winnies fitness, but we made a big change in Connies point of balance, her movement pattern had become behind the point of movement, telling me her brains key anchor points in the canter were through the back of her body so she sealed these to feel like she was with the horse, this left her off the centre of balanced and throwing Winnies balance, I got Connie to sense points through the front of her body, her toes, knees, thighs (for support) and belly button, this meant her brain naturally then brought her more upright and over Winnies point of balance, the canter changed into a more fluid energetic canter where Winnie looked capable of staying there happily.
Dale/Connie Any Questions let me know.
Great work yesterday and the video is below