August 15, 2016

Lesson Wrap-Up: Paradigm Shift

One of the tenets about my new position is letting go of the tension I normally harbor in my legs and letting myself sit on the horse and follow his position with my hips.  This has led to feels I've never felt before, and a really cool lesson Thursday night.

A very cool and tiring lesson.  He let the crossties hold his head up during his bath afterward.

We started out doing a mixture of shallow loops with distinct bend changes, mixed in with 12m circles to establish more bend when necessary.  The loops were varying sizes and distances, and the point was to get him even in both shoulders.

He started out doing it fine on the right and not so fine on the left, of course, you guys know that by now.  But this time, she told me to think about bringing his left shoulder over with the left rein, almost like a plow rein, when he wasn't on it/was more on the right.

I tried that out and somehow magically got the timing right almost from the beginning.  It felt like I was massaging the left rein to the inside of the circle while the left foreleg was in the air.

Proof that we don't have problems with ALL tents, just certain tents.

Within a minute or two, he stood up underneath me and stopped piling all his weight on the right shoulder.  Lightbulb #1:  I've been trying to solve the left bend/right shoulder problem by blocking Connor from putting all his weight on the right shoulder, when what I really needed to be doing is the opposite: say "Come over here onto the left shoulder" instead of "Don't go onto the right shoulder".

Even cooler, he quickly became straight and even without any of the tension I normally get when I make him straighten up.  His mouth was soft and playful.

We started to work on fixing this problem in that lesson too, although the big breakthroughs happened and the trot and walk.

We were playing with the same thing at the trot a little while later, on a 12m circle, when my trainer said, "You're so much in the right rein, he can't bring his right shoulder around."  I released the right rein and IMMEDIATELY I saw and felt his weight and withers go right, and the left shoulder came through more.  And then I repeated it a couple times because inquiring minds want to know if that was a fluke, or a real thing.

Lightbulb #2: His inability to give me left bend is at least partially caused by me preventing his right side from coming around the left side with too much right/outside rein.

Let go of the right rein, self!
Once he was straight, we played with those concepts at the canter, and really tried to affect the canter from within the canter, which is not something I've done a lot of up to this point.  It's time, though.


  1. So much good progress! I feel so much of my current lessons echoed here!

  2. sounds like a great lesson. I think I need to think about some of these things myself. :)

  3. I love reading your posts because they really make me think about what I'm doing and why. So helpful to hear about some of these important things from a different perspective than my trainer!

  4. I have exactly the other problem... I loooves the left rein so much, I never want to let it go!

  5. Love your lightbulb moments. :-) One step at a time.

  6. Love your detailed recaps, always so much for me to think on in my riding too. Glad you had a great ride!

  7. Sounds like another great lesson. He looks so beat in the after shot.

  8. Hi Jen, I realise this is completely irrelevant to this post but I saw these and immediately thought of you!