Saturday, 5 January 2008

Working for yourself is tough!

It was quite a challenge to get up today. Some nasty cold has definitely decided to grab me and am feeling mega run down. Somehow, after substantial doses of various anti -cold medicament and strong coffee I got to Kent in a reasonable state.
Once I started teaching I was fine and everybody worked very well. The theme today was mainly getting more feel for the horse's movement, timing of aids and influencing the horse with the body aids (weight and core).
Some time ago someone told me about this exercise of a classical dressage instructor so I tested it today - and yes, it works!
Try for yourself - while in walk, make your eyes go soft (don't look at anything specific), and imagine your seat bones as two wheels turning backwards in the rhythm of your horse's walk, your knees as pair of wheels turning forwards and your ankles as set of wheels turning backwards again. Keep your lower legs in a gentle, supporting contact with the horse's sides.
Try to identify which leg is stepping underneath. Then imagine those wheels getting smaller, smaller and smaller. Horses today got the message straight away, one even halted beautifully :)
Then imagine the wheels getting bigger, bigger and bigger like tractor wheels - what happens?
Horses on my lesson today went into long striding lovely walk with barely any leg aid:) If you try this yourself please leave a comment with your results!

We also did some 10 minutes in sitting trot working on deepening the seat and letting the legs hang softly against the horse. It is hard work for those riders and I was really proud of their improvement. Watch out for their Riding Club ;)

Afterwards, because I am totally crazy (the only reasonable explanation), I took Hamlet for a walk around the lanes. Due to some youth on motorbikes we had to escape the lanes and go up the fields but that was the best of decisions as Hammie gave me an absolutely amazing ride. We did a lot of trotting in half seat and every time I asked him to come back to me he did. He was really obedient and soft and every half-halt went through him very well. There were a few times when he resisted and went into his wooden mode but I immediately asked him to halt and flexed him left and right until he softened again.
After about 25 minutes of trot work I asked him for a canter and it was like driving a smooth car - I was really impressed as he can be very strong. Not today - he was listening, and I made sure I checked him at his slightest attempt to speed up. Discipline works a treat!

I was less jolly when I finally returned home in a rather unhealthy state. Thankfully, Ricky was in a caring mood and I got all the lovely attention you need when you are feeling bad!
He even set up his laptop for me and I can just lie in bed and type away :)

Working whole day tomorrow so I better have a good rest!
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