This month, I am finally, finally starting to feel the hind legs. I've read so many books and articles that talk about giving the aid when the hind leg is in the right position for the rider to influence it. I've always just nodded my head and thought, my horse has a hind leg. If I keep squeezing, kicking, tapping, half halting, etc., he'll eventually move it to where it needs to go.
I am being honest here. I have never actually been able to tell when that right moment is. And not that I can tell today either, but I am definitely getting closer. Wednesday was one of those days.
The flying changes have really forced me to pay attention to what's happening with Speedy's hind legs. The canter half pass and half turn on the haunches have required a similar focus. Squeezing and kicking just isn't going to cut it at Third Level.
The big OHHHH ... that I am getting is coming from the walk to canter transition, something we did a lot of at Second Level. If you're at Second right now, (Katy!) pay attention to your simple changes because they're going to get really important at Third Level.
I am starting to feel a connection between my outside rein and Speedy's outside leg. Yes, we could get a simple change at Second Level, but now we have to get a really good canter so that the hind leg is active enough to carry us through the corner into the canter half pass and later, across the diagonal with enough jump to get a flying change. The hind leg's quality of activity has become really important.
Over the past month or so, Izzy has really learned how to stretch over his topline AND push with his hind end. Or, could it be that I've learned how to ask him to stretch and push? Either way, I am finally able to put him on the outside rein and feel him bend around my inside leg. It doesn't happen every time, but now that I know what it feels like, it's getting easier and easier to recreate the feeling.
If you're still struggling with the same idea, it's a feeling of riding the inside leg. I can really feel it in the leg yield. It's as though I am pushing that inside leg to M or H. I can actually feel his inside leg step under and over.
I'll have two slices, please.