We are deprived of party lessons – camp last week, recognized show this week, something next week, and then schooling show championships. So, I took Splash into Tulsa for a lesson with Roberta C. The plan was to try a lunge line lesson but we didn’t get that far.
We arrived at Roberta’s place before she did so Splash got to hang out at the trailer while the equine residents investigated. We tacked up while keeping the inquisitors at bay and then did a little Clinton Anderson exercises in the arena. Frito munched on Splash’s hay bag while we warmed up causing Splash some concern. After Roberta arrived, I mounted and we walked/trotted the arena. Roberta shortened my stirrups 1 hole. Then shortened my nose band one hole and adjusted the dropped nose band. No new equipment will be purchased but I did need to add a hole to the nose band strap.
First we talked about “CORE;” 1) pull shoulders back and down, 2) bring lower ribs together, and 3) pull stomach in as far as possible. Do NOT loss the elasticity in your elbows and keep steady contact! I.e., do not lock all muscles with the core. As always, keeping Splash moving forward is the trick. Therefore, the core must also be a driving aid.
Roberta identified 2 of my long-term problem areas immediately. I often let my wrists break inward instead of keeping them positioned straight to allow straight elbow to bit connection and I use a neck rein/cross the neck with the rein (a big NO-NO). So, especially going to the right, I need to use a “out and back” rein away from the neck. And add leg. Old habits are hard to break.
Keeping forward movement is always a challenge. Roberta got a workout trying to help us along. I need to drive from behind into the reins and to keep my contact “playful” so that I don’t get to heavy in my hands. Also, for all transitions both up and down, I need to remember to engage the hindquarters before using the reins.
5 – FIVE”
Five counts up and down in transitions. This will help with the abruptness of downward transitions and will remind me to get organized before asking for upward transitions.
Trot a 5. Work at least one lap at a “5” trot. That means moving out in steady contact with straightness or correct bed. The left bend is fairly good however, when going to the right, I may need to stay straight or slightly bent to the right. This means that I must use my thigh/calf to move Splash’s shoulder into turns – minimal/no rein direction. Using leg to direct the shoulders made me sore – clearly not in my past repertoire.
Keeping that 5 walk takes that driving core.
Lots of things to work on. Thanks Roberta.