Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hip to Be Square

One thing I need to work on is my geometry - straight lines, good corners, and round even circles.  This came up when I was practicing some dressage fundamentals this weekend; our turns does the centerline were too wide, our circles bulged, and we consistently missed our marks especially when trying to halt at X.  The halt itself still needs a lot of work too!  I think we've stopped but then Cupid keeps trying to creep up.
Practicing our dressage with the aid of the German martingale
Matching gear from one of our favorite companies, Riding Warehouse!
Our other weekend ride incorporated poles.  We trotted through several pole courses.  Cupid trotted calmly over them, not trying to jump.  Then we worked on our canter striding: approaching a pole I would count down from 3 strides.  I think once I started the count one stride early, but we did a good job overall.  For this exercise it kind of helped that Cupid was lazy, because his strides were very steady and predictable and he didn't try to rush.  But our canter transitions were not very good, especially to the left.  I kind of chased Cupid into it.

I discussed my struggles with my trainer, and she suggested I really focus on using my outside rein.  She says I still ride Cupid like he's a young, green horse with an exaggerated leading rein, and he doesn't need that anymore. 

Cupid was having a lazy day, so in our warm up we did a lot of shortening and lengthening the trot.  During my lesson our canter transitions were much better because Cupid was not so behind my leg, and I think this is a good exercise for me to remember when I ride outside my lessons.

Then we worked on circles a little, focusing on using the outside rein.  We sometimes get stuck following on the rail (bulging out and reaching it earlier than the It is hard for me not to let my rein go slack, but we made some improvements.  Our trot circles were about 15m but I couldn't really go much smaller than 20 cantering. 

Then we found out the only thing harder than riding a circle was riding a square!  The arena fence was creating a shadow down the side, and we were supposed to stay on the inside of that line.  A few times we drifted towards the rail but it was good.  After trotting it a few times we tried at the canter.  Using the outside rein seemed to really help!  Overall I felt like this was a very productive lesson, and I'm happy to say my seat was much better though I still had a little trouble stretching down into my heel.

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