Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dressage aha's

Today was a very good dressage day! I had lots of aha moments. Although sadly, you'd think this would be stuff I already know and do. Alas... ;) 
So anyways... what did I learn?!

We were just trotting around and Fleck kept feeling like he was really falling in. We were tracking left and it felt like his right shoulder was really flinging out to the right. My inclination was to correct this by closing my outside leg and asking him to step up underneath himself straight. And... yes, it works, but... it's not exactly what I want. Because then he's counter bent and falling to the right instead. I mentioned to Cindy that I felt like I was constantly riding counter bent and she told me to focus more on correcting the lean by shortening that outside arc and pushing him into that rein. You know.. inside leg to outside rein. ;) But really.. my brain needed to hear the shortening the right side of his body part for it to get in my brain. So... rather than closing my outside leg, I close my inside, shorten the right side of his body while suppling it, and create the upright feeling that way. The correct way! But man.. it's such a hard habit to break that outside leg correction. At least now that I've realized what I was doing and the better way to do it, I seem to be able to catch it more and correct it. And.. shocker... Fleck goes way better the correct way than my twisted attempt to fix it. Sigh... One of these days we'll get it all together. 

Another good phrase for me, in concert with the above, was to focus on riding the train tracks. I need to ride the hind end but it works better for my brain when thinking of riding the hind end up to and parallel with the front end. This helps me keep his butt behind him, pushing his shoulders straight and then keeping his cheekbones straight and in line. This keeps his whole body straight and helps me focus on bending him, not just his neck. 

When riding shoulder in, I think half pass but don't add in the seat aids. It's the same body aids without the weight going laterally to get the shoulder in. Then to make it a half pass, I add the weight aids laterally. Cindy said Fleck and I got some really good shoulder ins. :) YAY!

BOUNCE! When Fleck gets hollow and inverted, I tend to tense up too and brace against him. Which makes it worse. So... if I focus on BOUNCING and creating bounce, I get him back much quicker. I just think of making my seat and core ... bounce... and bringing his back with me. It really does work. I'm not sure quite how, but it does. And he's happier that way too.

I didn't get any lesson pictures, but we had a beautiful sunset. :)

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