September 13, 2011
Today was cooler and I worked with Jackson for about an hour. I was very happy with how the session went. Starting out, I braided a long ribbon in my hair and tied it to my belt. Overcheck time! I kept having to retie it tighter as it just kept pulling my pants up, but I think it really helped! (Thanks, Tina!) I plan on continuing this for a week or two to see if it makes a difference. Just curious, is there any reason not to do this for a little bit?
Here is a photo, it is a little hard to see:
I also worked on what JP said, about seat weight to the outside and ear over the outside stirrup. I remember him talking about this when training lateral movements/half pass. Jackson bends better to the right than to the left. I bring my inside leg to the girth, shift my weight to the outside (per JP’s orders) and try to hold my outside hand so he just hits the rein as he bends. If he bent just a little and took contact on the outside rein, I released and asked him to go straight. He made slow but steady progress. Is this the right way? I tried not to use the inside rein at all.
I also did what Stephanie said, about working in rectangles/squares. (Thanks, Stephanie!) I did that at the walk, trot, and canter. I think it helped me to remember to shift my weight to the outside and then to go straight again. It did seem to help.
I worked on the trot, trying to capture all that energy. If I felt him round and lift his back, I would immediately ask him to walk and relax. I will probably do this for a few days, to encourage him to lift his back, and then begin to encourage him to hold it for longer and longer periods.
Cantering to the right was pretty good. I was able to do one nice figure eight, keeping the same bend. Cantering to the left was harder and I finally found a way that seemed to help him the most. I would canter the square and ask him to go straight or bend to the right on the straight and counter bend around the corners. This seemed to help him slow down and balance a little more.
I finished after he had a nice bit of cantering.