Sorry I've been so quiet on the blog for these past few weeks - how on earth is it already the second, going into the third week of July?? Needless to say the time has slipped by on me. It's high summer on the farm and the past few weeks have been a blur of sun, sweat, barbecue, and other quintessential American summer activities. I truly love summers on the east coast, and seeing as this time next year I'm probably going to be in chilly and drizzly England, I've been trying to soak up every last ray of sticky humid sunshine that I can!
Meanwhile, things have been relatively quiet on the horse front since Groton House. My dressage trainer has taken all of July off in order to study for the Bar exam in early August, so I've been on my own with both horses for a while now. I've been working a lot on my position, the quality of Ringo's collected canter, and the quality of Ky's connection, but mostly it's been a pretty boring few weeks.
Yesterday I did finally get a lesson and got a massive bevy of videos to make up for my bad blogging in July thus far. Ringo, as you can see, was a very very good boy :) Enjoy!
Look how steady! Look how cadenced! The more solid I can be in my position, the easier the trotwork becomes for Ringo in leaps and bounds -- even typing that out seems so obvious that I feel like an idiot, but hey, clearly it's been easier said than done up until now.
I think Ringo's canter has come such a long way in the past year. Last summer, this would have been our most collected canter, and now it's our warm up canter! What a champ.
Much improved!! Good boy :)
Then, we set up some rails to simulate arena corners in the middle of the arena, and we worked on what my instructor referred to as "Klimke corners:" Dr. Reiner Klimke's method of collecting two strides before the corner, one stride through the corner, and two strides after the corner:
The point of the exercise was to progressively build more and more collection and power into Ringo's canter, and while I'm not entirely sure I ever completely nailed the 'Klimke corner' precisely, just being more cognizant of my cornering in general definitely did just that. Then, when we added a quarter pirouette into one corner of the box, I was much better able to prepare him for the movement with the 'Klimke corner' in mind.
We did the same thing to the right, and by this point Ringo and I definitely had a better handle on the quality we were supposed to be aiming for (also, the right lead canter is Ray's easier direction):
After that, it was on to the changes. My instructor had me really focus on keeping him extremely consistent in the bend in his neck throughout the multiple changes--ideally that means that he should have his neck nice and straight between his shoulders, but since I'm currently incapable of doing that without falling back on the bad habit of trying to whip his head from side to side for each change, my instructor instead had me focus on maintaining the original bend (so if we came off the left lead the left bend, or the right lead the right bend) throughout the whole exercise:
It was definitely difficult! And Ringo didn't always change cleanly without the crutch of having me chuck him from side to side. But when he did change cleanly, his changes were SO MUCH BETTER than the hopping, close-stepping-behind bunny hops that he usually does:
Very good homework to keep up until my next lesson! The changes are the part of Ringo's repertoire that are definitely the most 'trick'-like at the moment, in that he does them and can do all the multiple change up through the 2's, but isn't naturally super correct in them. He likes to sucker me into just throwing him from side and allowing him to get really tight behind. When I ride really correctly right now, it reveals some holes in his training and he often changes late behind or a stride late altogether. But I was super pleased with how he progressed even within the lesson today, which gives me confidence that we'll be able to get stronger and better over the course of the summer.
In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying the summer as much as I am -- try to stay cool!