On Sunday, I had planned for a long ride. DJ was supposed to meet up with me so I could show her around the property. I finished up at work, came home for lunch, and left for the barn at quarter to 1. DJ had to work late 😦 Oh well, I would just start riding without her, do loops of the field and keep checking in at the barn to see if she arrived.
I spent some time in the plateau working on picking up that canter lead that has been so elusive recently. Let me tell you, it took forever! Eventually, I did something I wouldn’t usually do. I let him do the left lead like he prefers, and then asked for the lead change during the canter. What would you know? It worked! Of course, I would have a horse who cant get simple lead changes, but easily gets auto lead changes.
The next time we were down in the plateau, I was working on our trot, as he was getting very L shaped instead of C shaped on our circles. Usually the result of cantering and then trying to trot again. I also know I have a tendency to bring my right shoulder forward only when on that lead and when he himself is getting crooked (making it impossible for me to fix!). I tried to make a conscious effort to use more leg and not curve my shoulder in and down. It was really hard! I remembered what was said in the clinic I watched at the Royal on Friday, to keep my weight in the outside. I made the weight shifts obvious, perhaps more than necessary but it helps to make me get into the habit more naturally. Immediately I noticed a difference, none of the straight neck “slow bolting” I had before, and our circles became round instead of angular. I practiced this doing figure 8s and was wonderful.
At the clinic, I remember Waylon saying something along the lines of “keep asking the right questions, the young horse will make several mistakes, all different, but if you keep asking the right question in the same way, he will figure it out eventually” I think this also works for the rider, and Bentley must know this as hes training me. Was he at that clinic too? Clearly Bentley has been presenting me with challenges to improve my crunching to the side. It has always been the same question, I have tried numerous things to figure it out, and I finally got it! He stayed the same the whole time, allowing me to figure out the problem. Damn smart horse!
I didn’t ask for canter at any point after that, our ride had been long and strenuous enough and he clearly needed a long walk. I suspect my weight balance will help with the canter transitions too.\
But why am I having problems now?
I think I can answer that. I think I am still very tight to the one side from my injury. It may not be something I can always feel, but its there and its affecting my posture. The tightness on my left side is forcing my right shoulder in and forward, and my whole body twisting. Now that I have noticed it, it seems like such a huge difference in my position, I cant believe I never noticed it before! Hence why we have had this problem ever since my fall. Whats my solution? I have massage booked again, and I am starting yoga tonight. Lets hope that fixes me up!