The other positional thing we have been attacking lately is a new habit of gripping with my legs. I'm not gripping for the normal reasons. I have no problems sitting the trot and staying on. I'm gripping because I learned how much leg it took to get bend and mediocre S-I out of him, and to "close his corridor" of movement, and I overstayed my welcome on that particular aid.
What this means at the trot, in general Dressage voodoo terms, is that the energy he generates can't go up, and instead goes flat and forward. Combine that with my old standard position of rounded shoulders, braced feet, and sitting on my pubic bone, and you did not have a recipe for a horse that wanted to go round and in self-carriage.
|Nothing about my position here says "Horse, I invite you to sit back on your hocks and elevate your front end so that we can alight to the highest levels of Dressage together." Instead, I'm saying "DIVE ONTO YOUR FOREHAND AND CARRY ME WITH YOU!"|
The new Dressage saddle has helped a lot with this one. It wants my shoulders to be above my hips, whereas the CWD obviously does not, being a jump saddle. (Although if you look at the picture above, you know my bad habits can definitely overcome the right tack!)
If I think about opening my thighs and sitting lightly and upright, combined with all of the positional changes outlined in my last post, he almost immediately seeks the bit and gives me a "better place to sit." Which then makes it even easier for me to sit. It's a good cycle.
|You came along at just the right time, my friend.|
But what about those aids I used to give so firmly? In my lesson last Thursday, she had me really establish this new position and new way of going, and then try shoulder-in at the trot, with a special focus on not clamping down. S-I at the trot has never been great for us, in fact I'd call it downright difficult, so I didn't know what to expect...
...and then HOLY COW WHAT WAS THAT?! Who knew, timing my aids would give me a lot better S-I than just asking and praying and putting them on and leaving them. It felt really, really cool, and so effortless compared to a normal S-I (for us). My trainer was smiling. I'm definitely looking forward to more of that.