So last week I was getting rather frustrated with our lack of progress in the canter specifically. Seemed like we were always fine for the first half a circle or so but as soon as she started wanting to blow through aids and I had to use more leg we just fell apart. Specifically when tracking left. Its her harder direction to get the lead, she REALLY wants to drop that left shoulder and counter bend like a mad woman and I have a much harder time keeping my right leg back. I have been doing a lot of work to make myself more balanced in the saddle and although I don’t tend to sit heavier to one side or the other as much now I am still struggling to get my hips even, that right hip/seatbone just always wants to be further forward compared to the left (this is something I have noticed even when standing on my own two feet as well so I am making a conscious effort to correct it there as well).
After the jump school debacle from earlier in the week we spent the rest of the week really working on our flat work and it got progressively wilder and wilder. She protested and ignored the outside leg more and more, quite enthusiastically when it was the right leg, our transitions got worse and worse and we both got progressively more frustrated with each other.
We were supposed to participate in a Cross Country Clinic on Saturday and Friday morning, in a bit of a slump, I actually texted my trainer/the clinician and told him how our rides had been going and asked if we should even come to the clinic. Between the issues at the canter, the bolting at fences, her frustration, my frustration, etc. I just didn’t know if we should just skip it for everyone’s sanity and safety. His response was to bring her to the clinic, we would do whatever she was comfortable with and he would get on her if necessary. So Friday afternoon I decided that a nice, easy, ride was in order. Focus of the ride would be on me and working on some of my position issues, the only requirement from Dahlia was that she keep a nice slow, steady rhythm and that she not lean on me. I didn’t care about bend, I didn’t care where her head was as long as she wasn’t pulling on me.
And guess what?! We had a lovely little ride! She was soft and light, she was actually bending and carrying herself well for her level of training, and best of all, she didn’t throw any fits about my legs or anything. We even cantered a bit and instead of diving on the forehand and running through all outside aids she actually stayed fairly up and balanced. Again, for her level of training and ability right now but still, it was progress! The plan now is to do periodic rides like that so that neither of us get too frustrated in the future.