After this weekend I am feeling very inspired. I went to watch the Final at Brabandt in Den Bosch which is a convenient 20 min drive from the barn.
I finally got to see Edward Gal and Totilas and their performance really does give you goose bumps but I was impressed with all the freestyles. The competion was in high spirits with everyone cheering louder and louder as the rides went on. It really made me want to be down there riding! Every rider had new music/patterns though some ran into troubles getting behind or ahead. One rider even did a pirouette right in the judges face, I don’t think they could have gotten any closer. But the nice thing is that mistakes happen to everyone even the top riders, gives you some comfort.
Monday morning lesson went well. I’ve learned a few things about myself on how much mentally we affect our rides. The main thing I have I’ve learned is not to ride with so much leg… yes, not so much leg which I know is a strange concept. It kind of makes you go “Huh” but it is amazing how much we use our legs and hand at the same time. And, in so doing, we are actually jamming our horses up and making them stronger. Next time you ride and say “God, my horse is strong” ask yourself if your are using your leg and hand at the same time? Are you giving a half halt and a leg aid at the same time?
I said to Anky the other day, “Vitall is so STRONG!” She looked at me and asked “Yes and why??” I was applying the leg and hand at the same time and I was being too strong. Also, when we want our horse to become lighter we tend to pull up which makes them stronger. Think of a side rein which doesn’t pull the horse up, our hands should do the same. Bring your hand down/lower and place them on either side of the neck, lower down instead of higher up, more like a side rein. Also, don’t pull against them, hold the rein until you feel the release then relax (give) … don’t throw the contact away but give. Using these tools will really help make our ponies lighter.
In my lesson today (Tuesday) I mentally remined myself not to use too much leg and to relax my calf. At some points I even lifted my leg right off to really make the point to myself. In warm-up I had my hands low on each side of his neck with even pressure like side reins. In the beginning, I used “TWO REINS” without a bend and just made him trot into an equal frame and the same with canter. After all the warm-up, I moved into some excercises and put Vitall up in more of a show frame. Because of the way I had warmed up, when it came to ride the show frame, Vitall felt like a different horse. He was so much lighter and quicker off my leg and my aids were effortless. Truly a great feeling.
So my mental note from now on is: RELAX THE LEG AND 2 EQUAL REINS!