Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Learning Modalities

Today Delphi and I worked on "accordion horse" where we collect into a shorter, more collected frame then extend into a lengthened frame, and repeat. This helps to make the half halt more obedient (which Delphi needs to improve). The half halt should cause the horse to jump more under herself, without the horse "diving" into the hand or becoming heavy on the forehand. Just the opposite should occur: upon half halting the horse should become lighter and the hindquarter should jump under the horse even more. The aids for this are a firm, upright (think sit back) seat and torso, the rider's legs come back under the rider's seat, and keep absolute stability (don't pull and don't give) with your hands. In canter Karen had me keep my elbows down while raising my hands with an upward stretching (think sit back!) torso until Delphi would get off of her forehand and "sit" in the canter.
When working on medium trot, at one point Delphi got so strong in my hand that she was cruising like a freight train, no longer coming under from behind but becoming heavy in my hand. The remedy, of course, is to half halt, forcing the hindquarters to come under the horse. As a student, sometimes I become so focused on the exercise at hand that I forget to be a thinking rider. To move up, a student must layer each new additional element on top of all existing riding abilities. So I'm on the threshold of becoming both a student learning a new element within a lesson while concurrently remaining a trainer of my horse keeping and implementing the whole of any proficiency I've heretofore gained.

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