A few weeks ago, JL addressed Speedy's lack of activity behind. We now have activity, but it has hurt us in the front end. I now lack a little bit of control. Think loose race car speeding around the track out of control.
Speedy has also tried to be evasive by powering his head into my hands. He's got his engine revved and running, but now he wants me to hold up his front end. He's basically diving into my hands. Oomph!
To help fix all of this, JL told me to stop him and back him up to get him back on his hind end and off my hands.
Oh, I tried, but there was no whoa. We spent the next 45 minutes learning how to execute a correct pulley-halt. I know many dressage riders disagree with the pulley-halt. Feel free to comment, but it is working for us.
The pulley-halt revealed a great many things; the most obvious one was that Speedy tends to ignore my inside left leg. I planted my left knuckle in his neck and pulled straight back with my right hand, and Speedy's hind end swung inside, completely ignoring my left leg. I may have stopped his forward movement, but we clearly had a problem with HALT!!!!
We repeated the halt over and over. JL had me shorten my reins until they were about 12 inches long (Speedy's neck can REALLY bend). She then had me start the pulley-halt with his nose tipped in a left bend. I also added left leg and pushed him sideways. THEN I planted my left hand and pulled back with my right. Eventually, he started to stop squarely WITHOUT swinging his hind end in.
When he did swing his hind end in, we did lots of circles with me KICK, KICK, KICKING with my inside left leg until he swung his haunches back out. All of this was at the walk .... sheesh.
Once we got it at the walk, we started doing some halts from the trot. I had trouble controlling his hind end initially, but we eventually got it. JL's instructions for this week included lots of pulley-halts in our warm up. The goal is that eventually when he feels me lower my inside hand, I won't even have to engage the outside right hand.
This does connect to the half-halt. There's no way he'll listen to the half-halt if he won't listen to the pulley-halt. When I rode on Sunday, we did our pulley-halts from the walk, and I was pleased that he stopped square with very little right rein. Progress! We also spent a bit of time moving off my inside left leg. I am hoping JL will be at least impressed when we return on Wednesday.