When I mentioned the comment to my trainer, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, she laughed. It might look that way to someone on the outside, but that isn't what's going on at all. Even when Chemaine has ridden him, he's given her a hard time. Anyone who has actually seen me ride him through the jackassery knows that I am not afraid of him. This horse has just been a tough nut to crack. I like to call him my Verdades.
But that's not the exercise I wanted to share. He's learned that stretching down feels good. Now we're working on suppling his back even more so that he can take a longer, deeper stride. Here's how it goes.
For the next part of the exercise, I ask for a counter shoulder in which is shoulder in to the outside of the circle. Like before, I go around a couple of times until I feel him relaxing. Then we do renvers (haunches out) for a few circles. Like before, I gradually switch back and forth from counter shoulder in to renvers.
And then it's time to check. I straighten him and ask for a stretch down while also asking for a longer stride. If he'll give it to me, great. If not, we repeat the shoulder in/travers and counter shoulder in/renvers until he finally asks to stretch down.
The real trick is just time. Good thing we have a lot of it.