Saturday, August 29, 2009

Counter Canter Serpentines, Mediums, and Travers

When schooling the second level initiate for counter canter loops, it is important to ride every stride of the canter, being sure to keep just enough (guard against too much) bend in the "true" canter direction. Do this by supporting the horse with the outside rein and leg, while maintaining jump and impulsion with the inside leg. The bend should be around the rider's inside leg; guard against too much inside rein.
Concerning the medium gaits, Delphi's medium canter is nice in that she shows a clear lengthening of stride and a clear shortening when asked to come back. Reinforce this by insisting on an immediate response to the "go" aids and when asking to come back to collected, promptly go into a lateral movement such as shoulder in keep the "come back" response crisp.
Delphi's medium trot is "wow" worthy, but she is still prone to want to canter when coming across the diagonal. I must remember to stabilize the medium trot by half halting up and keeping the hindquarters engaged and the forehand light.
We also schooled the haunches in, or travers (tra-VAIR) where Delphi's shoulders remain on the track while the haunches move to the inside. Step into your inside stirrup and use your inside leg to maintain a lively tempo and bend while using your outside leg just enough to prevent the hindquarters from going back to the rail. Delphi was able to do haunches in at trot nicely in both directions today.