First of all, I have an outside rein! Why does it seem as though I have to relearn that every other week? For this particular go-round, I was riding Izzy when the realization hit. Last week, I had a great lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, but I've only just finished wading through the nearly hour-long video she shot. During the video, she said something that really made me think: "keep thinking about renvers; that's your steering!"
After working on the square with haunches in, we took that same idea to the counter canter. Izzy loves to throw in flying changes every time the work gets too hard. In his mind, it would all be so much easier on a true canter. As we crossed the diagonal heading into counter canter, Chemaine reminded me to keep his haunches where I wanted them. In this case, in renvers.
As it's been said before, there was a whole lot of ugly before it got pretty. Pretty might be too strong of a word, but at least I had more control. For a long while, I've focused almost exclusively on his shoulders. While this is super important on Izzy, it's meant that I've neglected his haunches. This has allowed them to start doing some really awkward things such as swinging wide on the turns and falling "out" during the counter canter, which allows him to drop the canter.
Here's a clip from that last lesson with Chemaine talking me through the counter canter and the outside rein.
Someday, when we can put it all together consistently, this horse might turn out to be pretty amazing. Until then, he's a great "teacher!"