Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Beat Goes On

Rijkens, our trainer Karen Brown, and I have had excellent schoolings this week.  In-hand work where Rijkens simple-sidles (does shoulder-in) along the long side then quarter turns around the forehand have really improved both his lateral work and his response the the whip aid.  Karen has insisted I use a clearly recognizable (to Rijkens) "go" button: ask with the tiniest forward sweep of heel; if he jumps forward into impulsion that is a yes; if any other response of "no go" then immediately the whip already, in such a way as he remembers it for next time.  This has improved Rijkens certainly but more importantly has improved my understanding of the aiding system.

Some pearls from Karen after her two rides on Rijkens this week:
  • The GO button (as above) must be installed and adhered to for canter as well as all other gaits
  • To improve his response in canter, school a canter quarter turn the GO button out in canter; school canter, then GO canter, collect, extend until the GO button is automatic in canter
  • To teach quality half pass in trot, first be sure to be well flexed (over-flexed for me) to the inside and half halt on the outside rein to "throw" his haunches over to the inside; teach him the half halt on the outside rein means get your haunches over to the inside (remember to be overflexed inside) then when he throws his haunches over let go

 My outside leg is too far back, the leg should only go back three inches or less; a half halt up should raise Rijkens' center of mass up and back:
 Better uphill balance but rather than leaning right I need to sit up quietly and keep my elbows down:
 Better quietness with my upper body and my leg should hang in a draped, relaxed way:

 Karen schooling half pass left; note good crossing of hindlegs and good bend in both photos:
Half pass right:

A short clip of Karen schooling Rijkens: