Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Recipe

I was thinking last night about how to structure my ride today and I realized that I had already found part of our current recipe for success and then promptly forgot about it. Earlier this month (I think it was prior to Katai's mounting flail thing) I was lunging Katai before riding her. Only for a few minutes in each direction but going through walk, trot, canter and really giving her a chance to warm up.

For Katai it's never about getting her bucks out since she is almost subdued on the lunge. Seriously, crazy things can be happening and Katai will just be in listening work mode the whole time. Every once in a while she'll break into a trot before I ask her to but most of the time she listens to everything I ask. I think that for her it's more about warming up, particularly her back, and finding her balance with the neck stretcher before I climb on.

This was working so well for the week that I was doing it but I don't know that I ever put two and two together and for that reason I sort of forgot about it. Today I started her out that way again and again had magical, floaty, dressage-unicorn pony.

She was hot but in this contained fun sort of way where she was lifting up and forward through transitions and it was all coming from behind. She was extremely light and floaty in front and all of her power was coming from behind. It felt like someone had traded my training level pony for a 2nd level pony overnight.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego anyone? 
I was also riding her like I was (closer to?) a 2nd level rider today too. I was able to keep my lower half softer and more relaxed and was posting very consistently so that she had to follow my rhythm rather than the other way around. It was a little more work to keep her connected since she was lighter in front but I never really lost her either at least not for more than a few steps at a time.

I was also able to use both of my hips independently and I don't think I was twisting or collapsing as much after a week of conscious work in sitting straight and working to strengthen and be more aware of that side. It also helped me make my canter transitions better.

I'll find out tomorrow if I'm actually managing to not twist as bad.

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