The title of this blog indicates that we did lots of cantering in my ride today. We did not. We had two canters but both were such quality and something’s really clicked with my riding in the past two weeks I thought the title had to match one of my favourite riding hoodies.
I rode today as due to snow, I couldn’t have a lesson on Thursday. We mounted in the school again as our yard is an ice rink.
I was going to ask for Bella today but the sun was shining and I wanted a lovely canter on my gorgeous white friend.
The paths were ice free and we all headed up and did a lovely few trots and nice walking before heading on to the field.
After Lorraine over at School Your Horse had seen the video I captured a few weeks ago of my riding, she gave me some invaluable advice. Just slight things that have made the world of difference to my effectiveness and quality of riding. She told me not to be so still and my position and balance were good enough that now it was time to physically relax and let go.
Using a lighter leg as my RSO has been trying to tell me for weeks, made the world of difference with Bella but I noticed today how much better my leg aids become with even Mr Obliging Shadow. My walking was collected but forward and having lighter but moving hands in walk allowed for even better control. Just the slightest touch on the reins allowed Shadow to respond so much effectively to half halts.
Even the trotting is getting better although it’s still not as good as it will be. But I am feeling as though I have much better control in rising trot than ever before.
Cantering was going to be interesting as my crop was left behind at the yard today. As it happened, I didn’t need it at all!
In the first canter, I wasn’t sure he would go as the horses in front of us were trotting and sometimes the school horses become slightly complacent about what is expected of them if their friends are doing something different. I half halted him while squeezing him on, now with such a lighter leg and legs that do not cling to his sides, that when I asked for a canter, I got a lovely, forward, collected one. At one point, I was so in rhythm that I was thinking surely I’m not still in canter but I was. Legs down by his sides and not wrapped around his ribcage with my seat being used effectively to keep him going and above all, hands moving back and forward in the rhythm. If you’d told me a year ago i’d get a canter like that, I would have laughed with despair.
On the second canter, another horse went before the horse in front of me and we all cantered in a line. Shadow was eager on this one and I didn’t feel as collected. If I’d given a squeeze, that horse would have leapt up a gear without a doubt.
The sun was shining, I was on my favourite horse and we’d had a perfect ride! What more could I ask for?
So lets see who and what tomorrow brings. 🙂