I had a fabulous ride with Grace last night. One of those rides that make me believe that I can actually do this, the horse I sat on last night is one that I would love to take in the show ring. I rode for less than the hour I had planned, she was so good I just had to quit where I was and get off her back. So I have to ask myself – what led up to such a good ride? I often pull apart the bad rides to learn from them and not repeat them, but what if I pulled apart a good ride so I could repeat it? So here it goes.
1. Our lesson on Saturday. I worked on the same exercises that we did with Sarah on Saturday, my goal was to capture that same feel I had in her arena.
2. Two days of Connected Groundwork – I spent Monday and Tuesday doing Connected Groundwork with Grace. During those sessions she found her balance and was telescoping her head and neck. Her movement behind improved dramatically over those two days. So I will ask it again. WHY don’t I stay consistent with that program?????
3. I didn’t touch her face! My new bit arrived in the mail yesterday. It is a DM Turbo Lifter with the swivel shanks. I was honestly afraid to touch my horse’s mouth with it. I’m always like that with an unfamiliar bit. Grace kept her head and neck level for most of the ride. She seemed very comfortable in that bit. When I did touch the bit I only had to use the lightest touch. When she responded she didn’t swish her tail or pin her ears, she just lowered her head.
4. I rode off my leg. I actually rode one handed for a good part of the ride – because I was afraid to touch Grace’s face. So I had to ride from my body and my leg. When I did pick up the outside rein to straighten her I added my inside leg. Grace not only went straight, she also stepped up from behind into the bit.
5. Perfect practice makes perfect. I took my time spending much of the ride at the walk. I had the arena to myself and made full use of the mirrored wall. At first our stops were very abrupt, so I worked on finding a better stop cue in my body. I also focused on keeping Grace’s shoulder in front of her hip when backing. Grace’s stops became cleaner and connected, as did her upward transitions. I didn’t throw a bunch of new stuff at her; I just worked on doing at better job of what we already knew.
I’m looking forward to our ride tonight, and the Connected Groundwork I already have scheduled for the following week.