Monday, August 18, 2014

Lyndon Rife clinic August 2014

A good warm up exercise in canter is haunches in with a quickening outside hindleg and taller shoulders to shoulder fore position. In canter Rijkens' outside hindleg should stay quick when you want it.  If Rijkens slows his outside hind leg in canter, come with your inside leg and and outside rein and half halt him a little bit and keep him active off your outside leg.  Rijkens has to be sharp to the rider's aids.  Develop this by taking your leg off and riding with a loose leg in the collected work.  You can't hold him up in the collection; he has to be so sharp to your aids that just taking your legs away quickly will cause him to jump underneath himself in collection, which you teach him by schooling sharpness at home.

Another good warm up canter exercise is medium canter in shoulder fore a couple times down the long sides.  Then a little nose to the wall leg yielding to activate the outside hind keeping him forward with no tendency to slow down as you get him off your outside leg, and then shoulder fore position.  Remember to keep the poll more up and let him be more open.

An exercise to increase tallness and engagement in canter:  start with a large circle in your best forward upward collected canter.  Then bring the haunches slightly to the inside so that you know you've activated the outside hind.  Only use your inside leg to bend him or straighten him; you make him more active by having that good purchase of the outside hind.  On the snaffle keep him half halted up and forward.  Keep him active and forward on the circle when you ask for haunches in, rather than his tendency to sink back on the circle.  After the haunches in then from normal collected canter bring him shorter and more collected, so short that he goes from canter to half steps.  Go from shorter collected canter on the spot to walk and then directly to a couple quick half steps then leave it.  Then canter and school the exercise again.  Don't use much leg for the half steps: the point is for him to learn to go active and sitting in the canter then walk and then active half steps.  Think about keeping your legs less strong, almost off of him.  Tap him on the bum with the whip to encourage the half steps.  If he trots rather than walks from the canter just bring him to walk and then active quick steps.  Don't wait long in the shorter sitting canter, come back quickly then right into walk then arrive in a couple half steps then leave it.

Remember not to drive him too much as this just teaches him to think "yeah kick me or tap me again."  Bring him back to more and more sitting canter then make him quick just as he walks so he understands how much he can sit then wake up.  Avoid trying to always push him on; rather be daring and sit there and let him sit more so that we teach him to get to that point where he can sit and carry himself rather than always being pushed by our legs or whip.  You can take your leg away quickly after a kick or correction  so he learns sharpness from a relaxed leg. Eventually at a show taking your legs off with your heels down will cause him to jump underneath himself in better carriage.  You can't support him in the very collected trot or canter, it's too much work.  He must learn to be more awake to your leg.  When he "downshifts" to more collection he should really be waking up even more.

For a quality collected canter he can "sit on his outside hind forever."  As you ask him to sit, also be sure that you really wake him up.  As he sits for pirouette canter he should be thinking "I'm sitting more and bringing my weight back but I really want to burst out of it."  School this by doing very collected sitting pirouette canter then go onwards again.  Be inclined to go out in medium to put more pressure on him so he learns that bringing him back is a wake up, not a slowing down.  If he falls out of it into trot, bring him to walk give him one good kick with both legs so he jumps more up in front of you; he should not just take it but rather really jump up in front.  If he just takes it, follow with maybe the kick and the whip at the same time.  Then pat him for a correct reaction to the correction.  Then he knows to stay in front of your leg and stay more open. You should feel that if you take your leg off fast he wants to come in front of you.

An exercise to improve canter pirouette: Make a regular collected canter circle at A and ask the haunches to come in a little to activate the outside hindleg.  The collected canter should stay active with the outside hindleg as the haunches come in.  Then come straight across the middle centerline at L onto a fairly small counter canter circle (like drawing a snowman's body of two circles on top of each other) without a diagonal line.  In the counter canter ask him to really stand up and really keep his outside hind under him to collect him so the collection improves ("be daring!").  Really stand him up with your outside leg.  Then as you cross the centerline at X in the counter canter circle do a true canter pirouette at X from the improved collection and balance of the counter canter.  It's hard!  "No use doing easy shit."

Concerning flying changes: ride forward, and then the change.  Rijkens has to be more active off of both legs.  Count the tempis a little faster to stay ahead.  It gets better even though the count may be wrong-- don't worry about messing up the count rather keep the canter quality and active.  Keep the count quicker and active.

Rijkens learning sharpness and engagement.

 Arriving in tall fluffy half steps:
 "Sitting on his outside hind forever."


Ingrid said...

Said it on FB how great this post is! Tons of good info and ideas. Thanks for sharing it and documenting it.