Heartland

What happened at Heartland goes back to my lesson on Thursday.

Photos from schooling ride on Friday.
I wouldn't say Connor was running away with me, but he was strong at the canter and very difficult to pull up.  He finally relaxed when I figured out three things: I was gripping with my thighs, I had too much inside rein, and I wasn't tall/firm enough in my core.

(My trainer also constantly nailed me for my hands being too far back/reins being too long the entire lesson, which helped a lot.)


The first two, gripping with the thighs and the inside rein, affected the canter.  He softened, relaxed and stopped running through my hands when I fixed those.

(It goes back to something Nancy K told me, which is that something about the way I sit naturally, particularly in my thighs, doesn't encourage him to think he can go "up", which makes our transitions flat and the quality of our gaits poor and quick.  You can see it in most of our photos, especially at shows, I just look tense through my whole body.)

August of 2015: TENSE.


My core affected our upward transitions and the gaits that followed.  If I 'sat on my pockets', moved the tension from my thighs to my glutes and abs, and thought "up" with my ribcage, his transition and the subsequent trot was awesome.  Every. Time.




I schooled just long enough Friday night to cement those ideas from Thursday in my brain, and I have the photos to prove it stuck on Saturday.  My default position usually includes hunched shoulders, a floppy core, long reins/elbows too far back, and lower leg nowhere near it's supposed to be.  Even if I was aware of those issues in lessons, I was never present enough in the show ring to fix them, so when Connor needed me most I was not physically helping him out:

August of 2015:

And in the test on Saturday:


I finally feel, and can see in the pictures, that I am actually sitting on this horse and not death grip perching on top of him.  PROGRESS!


14 comments:

  1. LOVE the latest pictures. You can see such a huge difference in both of you. Well done.

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  2. Do you hear that knocking?! Oh yeah, it's Jen and Conner knocking on Second Level!

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    1. Haha, I appreciate that. If Second Level was walk/trot we'd be set! We have SO much work to do on the canter though. I feel like I have very little control over it.

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  3. These are awesome!
    My recent clinic with a RWYM practitioner blew my mind as to how much we really influence (in my case inhibit) the horse's way of going. Here's hoping I can be as good at isolating body parts & rectifying issues going forward

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    1. That's awesome! It's a constant struggle, and to anyone who hasn't felt it (me, pretty much my entire life) it sounds like new age voodoo BS, but it genuinely matters and makes a difference.

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  4. Wow, I hear some of the same comments when I ride Comrade. So great that you have comparison shots that definitely show growth.

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    1. That doesn't surprise me, they probably go so similarly they encourage the same bad habits in both of us. It's still so cool to be able to talk to someone with a full brother! Yeah, the comparison shots mean more to me than any test or ribbon we could have gotten yesterday.

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  5. Seeomg photographic evidence of progress is so rewarding!! Congrats girl :-D

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  6. Comparison photos are my favorite because you can see so much of the progress that you might not realize is happening day to day. All your hard work is paying off!

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  7. Big improvement! Looks great!

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  8. wow what a night and day difference!! I love how such tiny changes in position can affect the horse in such a huge way. I'm headed to a Centered Riding clinic next weekend and sooo excited to see what neat little tools I can pick up there!

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  9. Wow you guys look incredible!

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