Really, tho, it isn't necessarily the worst thing ever. Mare is still doing really well. Whatever questionable stiffness she had going on behind a couple weeks ago has disappeared completely. Plus she's feeling fitter with every passing week.
|warm up trot|
So we spent much of this lesson reestablishing some rider basics:
- Inside bend, dammit. Bend Isabel beyond the point she wants to go, then when I let her back to where *I* wanted her in the first place, we both feel like we win.
- Use circles of varying diameters to help with this. Including circling off the straightaway when I lose the ability to keep her bent around my inside leg.
- Stay STEADY on the outside rein when she's fussing. The little conversations I try to have with that outside rein just get lost in the noise when she's flinging her head everywhere.
|wide hands help mitigate the fuss fuss|
- Once she gives tho, I *must* soften - but not too far that I soften beyond where she can take the contact, otherwise I'll just immediately lose her again.
- Once I've got her there, we can restart the convo with the outside rein.
- And, as always, keep her powering forward and bending with little bumps of inside leg - don't let that leg get stuck!
Plus I'm maybe more consistently upright with my pelvis in a more appropriate position in the saddle. A helpful visualization that I read on Mary's blog: imagine the contact originating from my shoulder blades instead of my hands. It's a work in progress, obvi, but I'm feeling good about it.
|look who's *almost* sitting up nicely for canter!|
Changes of bend were either really great or really shitty this ride - but mostly bc of aforementioned bracing. Still feels like progress tho.
Canter transitions were... mehhhh maintaining for now. As were our canter circles. But DAMN our canter down the long sides felt fantastic. Like she stayed really active and round in the canter, but I could shorten the stride and collect her up. And for longer than three strides without her breaking. Now I just need to figure out how to replicate that feeling on a circle lol.
|brief moment of square in between dance steps|
Ultimately C recommended Training B. She feels that with Isabel's recent fussiness, I need to focus on riding forward in the trot. That's legit challenging for me while sitting, so it's better saved for later. It's not like I'm sitting for my current competition levels anyway - 2nd level and prelim are both quite a distance away haha.
However Training B doesn't have all the movements I want help with (looking at YOU, leg yields!)... so I'll ask show organizers if I can ride Prelim A in rising trot. Either way tho, I know we'll get great feedback from this judge regardless of which test we ride.
|"OMG WAT R DIS NO I CANNOT" - isabel|
And what new thing did we settle on? Shoulder-in.
|canter helped a little|
|hard trying mare tries hard|
|baby steps, y'all|
It's definitely one of those movements that can't really improve until I put my own body in the right alignment... All the same, tho, I couldn't be happier with Isabel's honest efforts.
Things were a little better tracking right (you'll just have to take my word for it bc no video). Going left (our final effort above) was either just the head bent completely in, or all angle and no bend. But there are little moments of three tracks in there somewhere.
It was funny too, bc as we would circle at A or C in between attempting to do shoulder-in down the long side, Isabel would immediately go into this lovely connected trot, as if to say "OK I'm done fussing I will be good now!!" Which... might have been trainer C's nefarious plan all along lol.
|rewards for a good effort|