09 January – 25 March 2016
Finn moved to Fen End to live with Claire McCormick and the CMC equines team until we moved to Slovakia.
During our stay with Claire we received ‘coaching’ rather than formal training, so that we can be more self-sufficient when we get to ‘Russia’. General themes have been to ensure that Finn releases in the jaw to enable her to have a soft neck and to release over her back. Only once she’s submissive should I ask for more engagement behind – she still needs the ‘hot knickers’, but when she’s submissive.
We also worked on the Shoulder-in and Travers, getting her to sit on the hocks and lift through the shoulder. Claire identified that Finn finds this very hard and will cheat by seeming to lift the shoulder, but dropping her wither into the shoulder cavity (into the sling). I must watch out for this, and correct it by riding forward and lifting my hands to encourage her to come up into the bridle.
Once warmed up, we also worked in quite a few of the sessions on riding smaller circles with her hind legs than her front legs (moving towards pirouette) in walk and trot. And working on a slower but energetic canter – this is the key to the counter-canter!
Another point to work on is the ‘step between canter and trot’, which unfortunately seems to elude both Finn and me! I must think that I’m preparing to walk from canter – then the quality of the transition and the subsequent trot work is much better. We did halt to canter work and canter to walk work – the downward transition still needs work and I must sit up in both upward (not leaning forward) and downward (not leaning back) transitions.