Finn is looking much better (scabby-donkey-syndrome clearing up well) so wasn’t too embarrassed to present her at Watt Meadow today!
We mainly worked on balance and suppleness in today’s session, using the 10m circle leg-yield out to 20m – in trot and canter once we were warmed up. I asked Harry about ‘inside leg to outside hand’ as I just can’t seem to feel it. Harry said that I was doing it – if I was able to release my inside rein without losing balance, rhythm etc. then it was there. Simple!
We worked on improving the canter with some shoulder-in; Finn did find this difficult, but I do need to allow more with the right hand when on the left rein…. I was blocking her so no wonder it was hard for her to do!
I told Harry that I had been inspired by the demo riders at Your Horse Live (the Eilberg’s, Oliver Townend, Geoff Billington and Lucinda Fredericks); all of whom taught their horses to rein-back at a very early stage. Finn has not done this so I asked Harry to help me with it. Finn struggled to understand when I asked her (I checked the aids with Harry to be sure I was asking the right thing) so Harry tried to find a schooling whip to place against her chest to encourage her to step back – there wasn’t one to be found – so he improvised with a yard broom, just gently touching her chest with the handle while I gave the aids and asked her to go back. It worked wonders and she understood. Home work is to nail this – 10 times per session until she completely understands and moves back easily, softly and straight.
We finished off with some nice stretchy long-and-low trot on both reins – Finn enjoys this – but be sure I maintain the contact and rhythm, don’t let her get too low or she will become unbalanced. A good lesson today, I enjoyed it and we have more to work on at home.