Ha ha... That was quite the mind boggling dressage lesson today. I think my brain worked harder that it has in awhile. It was tough....
We started out with some fairly decent trot work and then when I went to canter Cindy noted that my outside leg came back. I told her that I could feel Fleck falling in and his shoulder flinging out, so my "instinct" was to "catch" him with my outside leg. In effect, I was attempting to counter bend him or even renver him to straighten him back up and get those shoulders underneath him. However, I wasn't accomplishing that and ended up just pushing him farther over. So Cindy reiterated that I needed to ride him shoulder in, which I knew/know... and feel like I'm always trying to ride shoulder in... She also reiterated that I need to ride inside leg to outside rein. I know that too... I also know that her and Beth have both been telling me to straighten him by maintaining a connection on that outside rein. Yes, he has to elongate that side of his body to be able to turn, but he also has to connect it and collect it some. So yes.. I know these things.... And I thought I was doing them... and maybe I was to some effect, but... by closing my outside leg I was throwing him back to the inside and helping him fall in. My closed leg asks his haunches to come in. Short of reaching forward with my leg and kicking him in the neck... (ha ha!) outside leg on isn't going to get him to straighten. Okay.. yes, I know this.... and was a little embarassed that I wasn't getting it. So... then I realized I was doing it at the walk too. Egads!!! So I thought about almost taking my outside leg off. Cindy pointed out that that wasn't the correct answer either... but to allow my leg to drape on him. So... With the outside connection and the inside leg... and not closing my outside leg... He was able to do a shoulder in and go straight!!! Mostly... because I was also grabbing that inside rein for all it was worth. I didn't realize it.. and I sorta felt like it was too long... but it was making Fleck over bend at the neck... So I had to let go. Cindy wanted to prove to me... so she had me take my inside hand off the reins and put the reins in my outside hand only. Then put my inside hand on my head. Simple enough right?! You'd think, but... It took me two laps to figure it out. Jeesh... Once I took my hand off that inside rein, Fleck flung out to the outside and counter bent. So my dumb self countered by bringing my outside hand do the inside... thus effectively turning him farther out. Argh.. Finally Cindy managed to get me to do it right.. If I took my outside hand farther outside, then I was effectively creating a slight inside bend with the reins. Add in my seat and leg.. and WOW!!!! I had a lovely, upright, straight pony!!! Holy smokes!! So then we went the other way and I got it a little easier. I think its easier for me to get a connection on that left rein. Who knows?! So then we went back to the left and... it still took some really hard conscious thinking on my part, but I managed to get it. And again.. what a lovely canter!! We got loft!!!
And then our trot was nice too! So yay.... brain boggling, but... the pay off was worth it.
It's just silly... I'm not sure why I'm so...... bad at dressage!! I mean... I know what to do... people keep telling me what to do.. but my subconscious just does the opposite!! But I love Cindy.. she's so good at explaining and demonstrating the theory and physics behind it... and then.. once my brain understands it and it REALLY sinks in... I get it. And then it's easier to fight my body on it.
anyways.... will practice more tomorrow!