Thursday, July 6, 2017

Jan Ebeling Clinic

Rijkens and I had two very productive lessons with Jan Ebeling this weekend at beautiful Isabella Farms.  The focus was on engagement.  From the very beginning of the ride, Rijkens must be responsive to the go aids (my seat, legs, and if needs be reinforced with whip or spur) but he must not be tumbling forward onto his forehand.  To achieve this I must have a very lively amount of energy while maintaining the collection through my strong position and slowing my rise an fall in the initial posting trot.  We achieved this via transitions within gates, and from walk to trot transitions early in the lesson.  The engaged trot work translates to engaged canter work later.

In canter, again the transitions within the gait are critical.  Deliberately and quickly get to just one or two or three strides of collected canter, then transition to one or two or three strides of lively working canter, and back again.  On a small (15 meter) circle, ask for some very collected steps.  I must guard the haunches swinging out on the circle, and even ask for haunches in on the circle sometimes for more engagement.  Rider position if critical: I must keep my right shoulder back and my right hand down on the right side of Rijkens' neck.

In the canter pirouettes (for PSG), remember to ride the diagonal line from M (or H) to A, in order to give yourself plenty of room for the pirouette.  I must really collect early, well before the turn onto the pirouette.  We were able to school some quite good pirouettes in both directions after some very collecting half steps where Jan walked behind us with the in-hand whip.

For the half pass I had good positioning and bend, I must make the half pass right steeper.

In the tempis I must remember to keep the collection for the entire line, not allowing Rijkens to get long and running by the end of the line of tempis.  Instead I must keep the engagement and remember to allow (not pull on!) the new inside rein; the aid for the change is new outside leg and the straightness is supported by the new outside rein, while allowing with the new inside rein.

It was a great weekend, and at all times but especially in the heat I must get to the point of collection and engagement early in the ride by keeping the energy revving while slowing the miles per hour.  The combination of driving aids and half halting aids within transitions helps to accomplish this.  Like making soup-- is their too much salt?  No, maybe there just needs to be more soup.  Or, is there too much soup?  No, maybe you just need to add more salt.  Like an experienced cook, the rider must regulate and begin to feel when more energy (driving aids) is needed or when more half halting (restraining aids) is needed to acquire the desired degree of engagement and collection.