Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Took Passage Steps Today!

During our lesson Karen used a coach whip to school Delphi alongside us while I rode, first at walk then in trot. (Karen first taught Delphi what the whip meant at the halt by touching her hind leg then rewarding her for lifting that leg, and made sure that Delphi wasn't afraid of the whip by touching her on the hindquarter, belly, and neck with the whip.) To begin in walk, we collected the walk using half halts and engaging the hindquarter. Karen then showed Delphi the whip to encourage her to engage her hindquarter and lower her hindquarters. We repeated the same technique in trot, asking Delphi to jump underneath herself in self carriage. We actually got two steps of "hop" as in passage. The key is to keep your legs back with soft knees, and continue springing with your seat every stride of the trot, half halting then lightening to create A LOT of energy. Delphi carried herself so nicely, in true self carriage, as light as can be!
We also schooled walk to canter and canter to walk transitions. We used the visual aid of a jump standard and the physical aid of a repeated pattern to help her learn that we wanted WALK (no trot steps!) at a certain point. We basically rode a figure eight of two ten meter circles, asking for a simple change in the center of the figure eight. Half halting, lightening, flexions left, flexions right (make them deliberate and one rein at a time, no "sawing!"), and riding EACH stride firmly with your seat keeps the canter collected and organized, helpful in both the ten meter circles and counter canter serpentine loops.