From Endurance to Dressage
More Inside Rein!
Seriously? I never hear that. It's always, release the inside rein, less inside rein, too much inside rein! But during a lesson with JL over the weekend, she realized that I didn't have enough inside rein when asking for the right lead canter. Huh?!
During the lesson, we worked on a new exercise in an effort to improve our right lead canter departure. Instead of working to the right, we worked to the left, softening the outside (right) rein and getting Sydney to lighten up off it in preparation for needing a softer inside (right) rein while tracking right.
We picked up a left lead canter, and then JL instructed me to stop him hard with the right rein. And nothing happened. It was like pulling on a brick wall. Normally, he makes the downward transition easily because by the time I ask for it, he's getting tired. But when he's fresh, he's apparently quite heavy, not what I thought I had been feeling. So we cantered and HALTED, cantered and HALTED. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Eventually, he started to lighten up off that right rein and started giving me quicker and sharper halts. That's when we started tracking right.
My focus has been to keep the inside bend, while not letting the hind end escape to the outside. As I was struggling with maintaining the bend, JL realized that my inside rein was just long enough to leave gaps in the conversation. In essence, I kept dropping the contact just enough to help fuel Sydney's anxiety.
JL had me shorten my inside rein which really helped me keep an inside bend instead of letting Sydney's neck twang to the outside. All of a sudden the conversation became about maintaing the bend and not about cantering. Sydney didn't care whether he was trotting or cantering, and he did both; he was just trying to bend.
I don't think this is going to be a magic fix, but JL certainly thought it was another piece in our puzzle. I am going to keep working on this as mastering that right lead canter departure is a serious goal for the winter.
Santa? Getting it done by Christmas would be AWESOME!
12/3/2013 09:53:47 am
It's always a case of too much or too little. I am definitely part of a Goldilocks syndrome for sure. :0)
Yay, puzzle piece! I think this is a huge part of why eyes on the ground and lessons are helpful. It is so easy to get all fixated on, "Everybody overdoes X! I am going to make sure that I don't overdo X!" and not notice you've veered off in the other direction until somebody wanders by and goes, "Okay, but you're not supposed to _never_ do X..." Ask me how I know...*g*
12/3/2013 09:54:52 am
You are absolutely correct. I don't have mirrors and shadows aren't always accurate. Good eyes on the ground are indispensable. :0)
12/3/2013 09:52:59 am
Thanks, Karley. :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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