A few days ago, I was tagged by a Facebook friend when she shared a video of an amazing horse. If you can, watch it really quick; it's worth it. If you can't see it, it's a two minute video of a stallion riding shoulder in to half pass and then extended trot. Not just riding it, but killing it. Oh, to ride that just once.
After watching that video, I swear I rode better. And if I didn't actually ride better, I at least rode with a better idea of what I was trying to achieve. During my lesson a few weeks ago, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables told me to start the half pass with a shoulder in. She's been saying that for the better part of a year, but I finally stopped Speedy in his tracks and asked, "You mean a literal shoulder in? Not think shoulder in?"
She said that would happen. She swore that eventually it would click for Speedy, and obviously for me too and then suddenly, he'd start working like a Third Level horse. We're finally at that point.
To build on the concept of riding the half pass from a shoulder in, Chemaine had me ride a shoulder in to a half pass, and the second he leaned on my inside leg, immediately back to a shoulder in. Part of the problem has been that I am swapping the shoulders in for the haunches in which is most definitely not how a half pass should be ridden. I need his shoulders and his haunches to stay bent around my inside leg.
Tomorrow, a flying change exercise that might give you a headache, but boy was it ever effective!