During the first two weeks of May, my German friend and erstwhile riding instructor came for a visit to Hilton Head Island from her native Frankfurt.
It was her first time here, so we did a lot of sightseeing. But she was very interested in helping with my riding and I was thrilled to receive the much-needed training!
Cruz and I are like a long-time married couple: we’ve adapted to each other without realizing it. As a result, I’ve got used to his crookedness and he’s learned to cope with mine.
When your horse doesn’t give to the left, the temptation is to bend him even farther left. But that just puts him off balance and makes him move yet more crookedly.
Ingrid had me let go of my stranglehold on the left rein and concentrate on driving Cruz forwards in a straight line. In any case, I should only see his inner eyelash when he’s bent to the left, not his entire neck!
Here’s a link to the video of us cantering between markers to the left – our worse side. You can see his haunches swing out to the right until I improve my leg position.
CLICK ‘WATCH ON FACEBOOK’ IN THE BLACK BOX TO VIEW.
In this video I’m cantering to the right. This used to be my ‘bad’ side, but somehow we’ve switched over!
AGAIN, CLICK ON ‘WATCH ON FACEBOOK’ IN THE BLACK BOX TO SEE THE VIDEO.
In addition to creating forward impulsion, I was to make sure I could always see the top muscle in his arched neck, to denote that he was using himself correctly and enable him to carry me better.
He didn’t have to be ‘reeled in’ to achieve this: I could do it on a longer rein, too, allowing him to stretch into my contact. As a result, she assured me, he would not be so tired nor ache so much from using the wrong muscles.
So I’ve taken a photo of his neck and will get another shot of it in two months’ time. Hopefully the before and after pictures will show a significant increase in his upper neck muscle and a huge decrease in his lower neck muscle. (I’m too embarrassed to let you see the before photo right now!)
If all goes according to plan, I’ll post them both!
Next week my great friend Maggie McGuire, of https://maggiemcguiredressage.com/ is coming to give a clinic next and I hope to post some great photos and videos from that.