I set up the camera to take some video of my ride today and was again reminded that while it is not perfect, we have made a ton of progress. I will admit I get really down on myself when I go to shows. What I think is wonderful at home doesn't even come close to good enough in a competitive show setting. I have to remember that nothing will ever be “perfect” so I might as well enjoy the ride that I have each and every day.
My favorite part of this video is the first lead change, it is going right to left, from Grace’s easy lead to her hard lead and she does it like it’s no big deal. It was one of those moments again where I almost wasn’t sure of my left from my right. Grace’s left lead is almost as good as her right. I never thought I would say that! If I had any doubt of our progress all I had to do was go back and watch the video from the reining show in November.
In the last 6 months I have found neutral pelvis and I am finally able to keep my leg on my horse and use it at all three gaits. Leg before hand is something that Sarah has been stressing to me for as long as I can remember. Last week I read Liz Grave’s blog where she talked about using leg to create contact and it really spoke to me. It was the same concept that Sarah had been teaching, but Liz painted a mental image that stuck with me. She talked about the position of the rider’s feet while using the leg. Liz pointed out that pressure in the stirrups told the horse’s spine to drop down away from the rider. It occurred to me that every time I had used my legs, I had jammed them down into the stirrups. No wonder my horse always seemed to drop her back and run. In the days since I have been able to go to my leg first and ask Grace to lift her back. I have kept my foot soft in the stirrup and used my lower leg to ask my horse to come to me. I was surprised the first time when I added the leg at the lope and her reaction was to lift her back and lower her head. Ridding with one hand just got a whole lot easier. I am curious to see what the next 6 months will bring us, but I will continue to enjoy each and every ride on my way there.