Delphi is doing extremely well at Belle Terre: as soon as I mounted she was much lighter in the hand and quite prepared to travel in self carriage. After viewing the photos of my riding session from today however, I need to abandon the training level riding style, shorten my reins, soften my knee, deepen my seat and channel my inner Edward Gal and be the dressage rider.
Abandon: popping my seat up out of the saddle then driving the horse down onto the forehand. Improve: keep my elbows down with a straight line from firm wrist to bit; sitting up and reaching back actively with my seat each canter stride.
Abandon: too long reins and lack of jump in the canter stride. Improve: shorten the reins then activate the inside hind for more jump and collection.
Abandon: loose, floppy reins. Improve: uberstreichen is good, but I should shorten my reins so to be IMMEDIATE with both the giving of the rein and the QUICK half halt.
Abandon: leaning forward during uberstreichen. Improve: okay to show clear give, but keep a correct position and insist the horse returns back to the rider's proper balance; the rider dictates the horse's balance, not the other way 'round.
Abandon: too long reins that allow the horse to tighten or go inverted before the rider has time to react. Improve: shorten the reins and be ready with quick half halts as well as quick gives. Keep the reins soft but shorter and be ready with a corrective leg, seat, and half halt.
Abandon: this is a pretty training level trot, but too bad- we're NOT in training level anymore Toto. Improve: ask for more impulsion and collection with correct leg, seat, back and "armpit muscle" aids.
Abandon: pulling the inside rein. Improve: shorten the reins several inches and "fix" things with my leg and seat rather than my hands.
Abandon: allowing the lower leg to creep forward. Improve: keep my knee soft and lower leg back to activate the hindquarters; shorten the reins to receive the collection created by correct aids.
Learning the art and science of dressage takes a lifetime, and one needs patience and perseverance to succeed. Having high expectations for my horse is not enough. I must shelve the excuses and insist on personal excellence to grow into the grand prix rider I dream of becoming.