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All posts for the month June, 2012

Finding the Feel

Published June 22, 2012 by gofullthrottle

Feel is often a mystical conception among dressage riders. Everybody has a different interpretation and preference. Since my feeling has come a very long way over the past 6 months I decided it was time to write about it.

I remember watching Anky’s half pas on Krack C and it almost appeared as though she didnt have any leg on her horse at all as he gallantly reached across stretching both legs to the max. Well I can say that I get it now.

When Welmingh arrived back from training he was so heavy in the hand that I could not even ride him in the snaffle. today I ride with mere ounces of contact in my reins. In order to do that, I have had to make Welmingh more accountable to my legs. He now responds to the leg with mere ounces of pressure as well. I am really enjoying the lightness of this ride. It enables me to carry my hands lower and for my aids to be completely effective and unnoticeable. The second he starts to get heavy again my hands rise up in order to balance the contact so its an indication that something is going on behind.

He is quieter in his mouth than he has ever been. I would imagine with limited pressure on the reins he is far more comfortable in his contact. The most amazing part of all of it is that he is carrying himself in true self carriage he is lifting from the shoulder when I apply a bit of leg, instead of burrowing into the contact. It is very much like night and day to ride. And quite exciting as he starts to develop a true extended trot for the first time.

I know that when I learned to ride dressage I was often told that I needed a heavier contact and the rule of thumb was 3 to 5 lbs. Today I am throwing out the rule book and riding my horse with lightness, feel and connection. And I LOVE it!

Going the distance

Published June 13, 2012 by gofullthrottle

I posted a video of my ride last week. Sadly I still feel like I have so far to go to get where I want to be. It is funny however, how the universe tells you what you need to hear. My friend Maureen who was by my side through my concussion, and my journey in getting back on my horse. A true friend as far as I am concerned because I am fully aware that even my cat deemed me a bad person on a few days where the pain was intolerable. She watched the video and said he looks nice and relaxed. And the comment stuck with me, I thought, “Why would she say that?  He is always relaxed. So random. Can’t she see how awesome his canter is? ” Well, the joke is on me.

Maureen is right. She is one of the few people that saw how he was going before he left. He was hot, tense and spooky. The tension was ruining the quality of the gaits and creating problems throughout the higher level movements. Before I left for Florida I had not yet ridden him on a long rein even in the arena when warming up and cooling him out.
So as I warmed up today in our 20 minute wander around the field on a long rein and a palm frong (palm tree branch) fell to the ground and I shortened my reins in anticipation of something bad happening, Welmingh continued to saunter along like this was no big deal. He has also become accustomed to large flocks of birds flying at head height.  And other random animals.

So she was right. He is very relaxed. And sometimes I need to look back to appreciate how far we have come instead of obsessing about how far I have to go.