Flatwork Session @ home with Ibby McPherson

“Back to Basics”

Ibby offered to help me with my flatwork following our jumping session last week, so I took her up on the offer today. I warmed up and she said she wanted to work on my position. Sounded good to me as I know I need some help with sitting better – not tipping forward – which I seems to have almost got worse in the last 12 months…. (one of my objectives for this year too).

Main focus was to sit on my seat bones rather than my thighs so much, and to pull up through my core: lifting my rib cage. The other focus was having an ‘elastic’ contact and softening my rein aid by opening the inside hand with thumbs on top or turned out,  as I do tend to allow my reins get too long and then ‘hook’ my wrists to compensate.

The first job was to be more demanding of Finn by dictating the rhythm and the speed – no allowing her to rush on. Once I’d established this, I was then asked to work on a circle and think of my inside leg as a gate post for Finn to work around, having more weight on the inside seat bone and through to my stirrup – avoiding pulling up with my heel. At the same time turning my shoulders (from the hip rather than collapsing under my rib cage). I was much better at this on the right rein than the left, I was more naturally effective at opening the right rein, whereas the left tends to hook across Finn’s neck more – lifting the rib cage on the left rein really made a difference to this, improving my balance and automatically lifting the left (inside) hand. Bingo!!

We worked on maintaining my position through walk-trot-walk transitions – maintaining the rising trot right through until the first step of walk rather than sitting trot to prepare for walk.  This was to encourage Finn to really step under and stay relaxed through her back, creating a more active transition. Had never done this before but I could see the difference it made to her hind leg activity through the transitions.

I was also asked to make her rounder where the neck strap sits – pushing her up to the hand BUT NOT FIDDLING with the rein.

We stayed in walk and trot for the whole session today, think I need to do more of this to get really established. Finn worked well but we did have to hoik her bit up and tighten the noseband as she got her tongue over the bit and was inconsistent in her mouth. Think I’ll try her back in the Micklem before Oasby on the 14th.

I enjoyed the session today and will certainly work on this more.