Tuesday, August 23, 2011

32 right, 6 left, 17 right

The combination of riding a particular horse oneself, then having the opportunity to watch as someone else rides the same horse, then following up by again schooling the horse has proven extremely beneficial for both me and the horses I ride.

Two examples:
Wizard- Centerline Training's Spanish barb- and I are working toward being soft, through, and round. We achieve this in walk and trot but canter and transitions have proven more difficult. Yesterday I got to watch as Wizard's Aunt Rachel schooled him in the canter. I saw her lighten the aids immediately following the canter up transition. I considered that she gave deliberate and obvious, if big, rein aids with a return to subtle rein aids as often as needed (no knitting upon the reins did she!).
With all this in mind during my ride with Wiz today, I intentionally aided him into a very good trot that was favorable to become a very good up trans to canter. Once in canter I thought about what I had watched Rachel doing the previous day and visualized a collected, through, and soft canter. Much to Wizard's contentment I neither fiddled with the reins or got stronger in them. We were able to canter 'round smoothly with several lovely transitions, and it was repeatable in both directions.

Appassia, my barn buddy's lovely Arabian mare gave a new-to-Centerline student a lesson that I audited. This well schooled and elegant horse has a quirk in the canter up trans that if you're not prepared for can take you by surprise. Having experienced the quirk myself from the saddle, I had formed the opinion that it was rather large and alarming, akin to a buck. Watching the student school through it, however, proved to me that what felt to me strangely appalling from the saddle was actually a much smaller difficulty than I perceived.
Today when I rode Appassia I channeled all that Wiz had taught me with his excellent cantering and Appassia and I skipped through the minor difficulty with ease.

While watching others ride I often ride with them in my imagination: making corrections, adding impulsion, or straightening the horse as I follow along. It's neat to be able to follow up from the saddle on what one has learned visually.

Wizard and Rachel schooling canter: