3 biggest things to take away from this first lesson:
- Tempo – ride 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears in trot. 3rd gear needs to be working trot, bigger – not faster. I’m tending to rush and flatten the trot, so spend more time in the air in my rise.
- Contact – my thumbs to his ears. Snuggle myself with my elbows. Keep the contact elastic and do not see-saw the hand – even a little bit! Hold reins with thumb and fore finger. Ring finger sponges the rein for softness and connection.
- Corners – opportunity to show off to the judge by prepping the short side with great riding in the corners. Bend around my inside leg, ‘feeling’ of leg yield in the corners. Protect the outside shoulder and feel like I’m sitting on a table – all 4 legs need to take even weight, not allowed to tip onto 2 legs, or making the shoulder bulge for balance.
Proprioceptors in left foot need turning on. Ride with just the left stirrup for a short while, from time to time, to switch on.
Walking warm up. Figures of 8 in 10m circles along one side of the arena. Using the outside aids to turn, not too much bend. Even tempo.
Trot in first gear, second gear and third gear. Play with the gears. Working trot is 3rd gear. Increase the moment of suspension by spending more time in the air in my rise.
Leg yields on the track. Both head to wall and tail to wall. 4 tracks. No bend in leg yield – only flexion. Forward and lateral making a smooth line.
Even response left and right. Walk and then trot. If he gets confused then go back a stage and explain in walk, or ride turn on the forehand making the quarters respond to the aids. Especially in leg yield to the right; this was much more difficult. Then zig zag leg yields: turning down centre line and ride 5m one way, 10m other way, then 5m back to centre line, like counter changes of hand – but leg yielding.
Canter. Start off in ’rising canter’ and push on the ‘sit’ stride. Then ride normal canter and remember that push.
Remember that the poll must be the highest point, especially in the canter.
Maintain my own focus to help the horse maintain his focus. I’m too easily distracted, leading to loss of focus from Nash.