Training Diary: May 7

What we worked on: Test movements, riding through both tests

That was very good: I started off with a warm up in walk where I rode the first level test we are going to ride on Sunday in walk in order to get him loose and also to remember the test. A short trot with a nice forward out followed by canter in hunt seat where I focused on keeping him round and rather low in the neck. In the hunt seat, a little higher tempo is also ok, big circles only. After that, I made sure that I am not disturbing him whatsoever in the canter. I tried to let go of my arms and a bit of the reins (felt like losing them completely but in reality it was only a few inches of forward movement of my arms!). He felt WAY rounder than normally and sought actively the contact, EVEN in counter canter which I tried today, too. Another thing was the half diagonals in canter in preparation of the counter canter. For the first time I did not have the feeling that he was falling on the inner shoulder when leaving the track after the corner. Reason: I was MORE actively turning my upper body - to me it seemed that I was even exaggerating.

That was ok: Better halt transitions than yesterday.

That was not ok: Trot sometimes felt a bit too forward, thus making me hold the reins too tight. Letting go in these moments still seems difficult, felt my shoulders getting tense.

What we look at the next time: Leave the hands where they were today. I had somebody looking and at least for half a round with that measure he was not at all moving his head like he uses to do normally. He was rather still at least until he got tired (but when my barn friend watched, I was riding the long side in counter canter so kudos for Hafl, at least some strides were really cantered!). Need to work on extend these periods now.

For the next training I will: Work on my inner pictures of holding the reins in the canter.

What I discovered: Let the horse do the work!

Conclusion: There is no reason to do all the work in the canter! When I let him do his job, he feels way more balanced. The canter might not yet be collected enough but that is not in the focus right now. Slowness will follow as soon as we got the concept of correct cantering right.

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