I worked Finn in, and Claire said that she was really pleased with the progress we had made since our last session. Apparently many combinations can take up to six weeks to make a breakthrough with this – especially with a horse being re-trained!! She was thrilled to hear about our performance at Allens Hill.
We still need more work on submission and connection from back to front – building on what we did last time.
Although Finn is good off the leg, she needs to be sharper. Claire suggested that I use my schooling whip rather than spurs. Apply the aid and expect a reaction, if I don’t get a reaction then back up with the whip.
Need to feel like the hind legs are ‘hot’ but the front legs slow down. This will help me get the feeling that that her hind legs are working harder to propel her forward than the front; she can tend to pull herself from the shoulder rather than using her back and her hind legs to create the forward movement.
We did a lot of work on counter flexion/bend today to correct her crookedness. Working on a circle and ensuring that my body rides the counter bend e.g. on a right handed circle I must use my right hand as the outside hand and my whole body rides the bend to the left, pushing her shoulder in towards the centre of the circle. We did this in all 3 paces. We then opened up the trot and started working towards medium trot – I felt some real lift for a few strides, and Finn came back nicely. The trick is to ask for just a few strides and transition forward to working trot before she loses balance (don’t be too greedy).
We then started to work on the counter-canter. The right lead counter-canter was quite difficult for us, Finn automatically changed lead as soon as she approached the track when going into counter-canter, so we went back to the counter flexion/bend exercise and picked up counter-canter off the circle. This was still quite tricky, especially on the right lead. On the left lead we found it a little easier and did manage two corners and then changed back to true canter. Was very pleased with this.
More homework to do with the balance and the counter-canter, but feeling really positive.