Focus during warm up was to think about suppleness, submission and rhythm. I should not ride Finn too much in a forward trot, it’s great for in the dressage test, but at home I need to ride more ‘pomaly’, in a slower more deliberate rhythm.
Patrik set out ground poles for a walk distance 5 granny steps between each pole. Once Finn was walking over these in a good rhythm he raised one end of every other pole – at opposite ends. Then the same in trot, adding more poles and really concentrating on a slower rhythm and with Finn coming up over her back and staying supple through the jaw and neck. Patrik added poles either side of the line of 4 at an angle – at 2 to 3 trot strides distance – making the line of poles into a slight curve.
The distance was then changed for canter striding, with the poles still forming the curve with 2 to 3 canter strides to the poles at the ends of the line. Finn found this more difficult on the right rein than the left – which was surprising as it is usually the other way around!
Patrik then added more poles creating a large oval shape in the middle of the arena. Riding the oval shape Finn found it difficult to keep the rhythm and I was trying to help her by varying my line to give her more room – but Patrik wanted me to ride the ‘true line’ towards the inside of the poles – to encourage her to shorten. He also noticed that I was holding Finn up too much and told me that I need to support her but not micro manage her! I must check/balance and then relax as I was tending to hold too firm a contact all the way around the circle. Once I got the feeling of the check and release I felt Finn lighten – although she did drop behind the leg from time to time, so when I ride her in this way then I must be sure to keep her engaged and active. Prepare, prepare, prepare!!!
Although Finn was tired, Patrik said that he thought we were both getting fitter – which is good to hear. At the end of the session, Finn had a good long walk around and a stretch, a play in the lake and then a nice cool wash off before she went to her stable for a rest.
I really enjoyed the training session today and will ask Chris to help me to do this again. The next training session with Patrik will be gymnastic jumping. Looking forward to that…..