Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Improvement in Flat Work

I have to say that I am very pleased with how Ruby's flat work has been coming along this Summer. If I remember correctly, last Summer it was a bit of a struggle to get her consistently round and reaching for the contact and working through her back. I remember a good amount of inverted flat work. I would get some nice roundness for a few strides and then lose it again. And so we we would go back & forth with this. Last year I would see those nice round moments and be encouraged that the potential was there, it didn't seem completely impossible that we might get some nice consistency on the flat some day. And so I feel that day has more or less come.

Today I decided to do some schooling, since we have a show next weekend. We had the ring all to ourselves which was nice for me, I didn't have to feel self-conscious about my riding (I know, I have issues). We did about twenty minutes of good, solid trot work where she tried quite hard with pretty nice results. Once we moved on to the canter I was again thrilled with how lovely her left lead canter has gotten. Supple and round and really working from behind, it is a complete pleasure to ride. Her right lead canter still needs work, so we still struggle there. But it has definitely improved, we now seem to be able to string together a number of good strides before we lose the roundness. This week Alison (my trainer) pointed out that it might help to ride her right lead lighter in the tack, even in 2-point, so I tried that today. It's a bit hard in dressage length stirrups, but I just concentrated not so much on a real 2-point as I did on trying to stay a bit off her back in this direction and I have to say that I definitely felt that it helped. I got some nice roundness for longer than I usually do. What I probably should have done is finished with a circle sitting in the tack after warming up this way to see if that also showed improvement, but I wanted to end on a good note. Instead, after about 30-40 minutes of the ring work I ended by cantering a few additional circles in the field (my stirrups jacked up to jumping length) to shake out a bit of that routine ring dullness. All-in-all I ended our work today very, very pleased with my girl.

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