April 13, 2016

Right Shoulder = Left Hind

I've been thinking about something lately.  We've put all this focus on the right fore, and we know that he is most prone to lose his balance right after the right fore bulges away from his body.  But what if it is actually the diagonal leg, the left hind, that is the problem?  What if that's the weaker leg and he doesn't want to weight it as much, so he sends that energy to the right fore?  It makes a lot of sense.  That's my weak side, and I don't tend to sit as well over there.

"Weight your left hind!"  "MAKE ME." "Okay."  *tail swish*

With that in mind, in my lesson on Saturday, I added really straight leg yields into my warmup, with the goal of telling the right shoulder to wait and the left hind to carry some weight.

And what do you know, he came onto my aids and stopped barreling through the right shoulder SO fast, it was the most effective warmup I think I've ever done.  We were going to be ready the moment she was for more advanced work.  So I was surprised when my trainer wrapped up the previous lesson, turned her attention toward me, and said,

"What are you doing?  Are you trying to do half pass?"

"Leg yielding."

"Don't do that.  He's so straight, almost counterbent, if you had told me you were going for half pass, I would have been okay with it, but don't do a leg yield."

I just felt like using this picture again.  It doesn't have anything to do with anything.  

I was kinda miffed.  Here I was thinking I was a warmup genius and I get criticized.  Well fine, have a half pass.  So I did a perfectly balanced and even half pass at the walk all the way across the ring.  The best one we've ever done.  She was quiet for a while, and then said, "That was really good, really consistent." and had me do one in the opposite direction, right.  It was not quite as good, but still consistently mediocre as opposed to inconsistently mediocre.

Left, uh, bend.

She declared it past time for him to start doing trot half pass, and that's what we did.  We've tried and failed at it in the past, but with my new position and understanding of leg aids, he did some really good ones to the left.

To the right, though, he really struggled.  He wants to lean on the right fore and not weight the left hind - aha.  The second I gave him an inch, the right shoulder came in and he lost the bend.  We broke it down into doing a counterbent left circle, then coming off of that circle into right half pass, and he still continued to even struggle being counterbent.  He just does not want to weight the left hind.

Prefers to travel diagonally.
We have a better idea than ever of what it is about me and what it is about him that are holding us back.  We ended up having a big breakthrough in another makeup lesson the very next day, but that will have to wait for tomorrow!


  1. You do the best lesson write ups! It is like Sherlock Holmes meets dressage.

  2. We need to talk 'cause I have some more info and exercises for this exact problem since you and I ride basically the exact same horse... I'll PM you!

  3. It's amazing how connected it all is.

  4. This is so cool and so helpful for me! I love reading your recaps