Monday, January 17, 2011

Boot Camp Day 11

During my schooling ride on Gryphon today we were able to test some theory from a George Williams clinic my barn buddy Ceil shared. The theory states one must first have latitudinal flexion created in part by the inside rein, and only then can one get longitudinal flexion with help from the outside rein. Gryphon was quite willing to demonstrate this: once soft on the inside rein (latitudinally), I was then able to get him quite soft longitudinally on the outside rein. Then the cycle would repeat and Gryphon was traveling lightly and in self carriage with me cycling through the latitudinal then longitudinal aids with NO mauling or dwelling on the reins. Basic yes but it really helped me as a rider to be aware of how the rein aids (supplemented of course by all the other aids: leg, seat, etceteras) were coming through.
The aid for canter is very subtle with Gryphon. It is similar to the aids for shoulder in, but the rider must remain straight and balanced, turn the rider's frontal plane slightly to the outside with an ever so slight nudge onto the rider's inside seat bone. Gryphon happily canters off in collection from this very subtle aid but the rider must first prepare by having him through the aids, light in front, and organized for the transition.
Once in canter, I again was able to prove the George Williams theory that the horse must stay in front of the leg. Test this by leg yielding away from the rider's inside leg: if the horse is not very willing to do so then he is no longer in front of the rider's leg. Gryphon was indeed willing to yield obediently away from my inside leg. And of course the latitudinal and longitudinal circuit testing was ongoing for canter as well. Voila: another satisfying instance of the lecture being proved in the lab.