Damn My Left Hand

Just got in from a ride on Rogo. He was beautifully forward (a benefit of too much rain and no riding?) - I love it when that happens! I've learned, finally, that I can only work hard a couple of times a week, and other days we can do lighter work or nothing. Maybe you've noticed I'm not complaining about lack of forward anymore? Of course there's still work to do on consistent forward, rhythm, and using the hind quarters, but it's going in a good direction.
That's the good part. The bad part is that with the missed time, my left hand has reverted to all it's old bad habits. I couldn't understand why his left circles were counter bent, like a year ago. Even when I just posted about Joan telling me not to raise my left hand when it's on the inside (I don't do it when it's on the outside), I did it again. ARGH! At least I knew how to fix it, but every time I got distracted up it went. I have an instant meter when it goes up because his head goes out.
He did something I don't remember him doing in our ring before - he took off at a gallop when I asked for a canter and tried to charge through my aids. And this was at the end of the ride when he should have been tired. It took a few seconds but I got him slowed without incident (I'm always afraid of a rear or buck when bringing them down quickly, but I want him to know this isn't okay) and then put him into a canter and continued our practice test ride. The rest of it was great. I don't know what that was about, but I hope he doesn't try it at the show - it looks so out of control and untrained.
We finished with a short hack on the beach and he was very looky and 'up' but not spooky.
Tomorrow Doug, God love him, is going to lunge me bareback and we're going to work on that left hand and relaxed hips (for quiet legs). Rogo is going to be very surprised by bare back - new things intrigue him and also get him excited.


I feel for you Carol - I'm having a devil of a time correcting my unevenly weighted stirrup issue. When I'm paying attention it's fine but then my mind wanders... It's so hard to change bad habits, but becoming conscious of them must certainly be a good first step.

Good job putting on the brakes and then calmly going back to work. Enjoy the bareback + lunging session... can't wait to hear all about it. :)
Jeni said…
Just remember to breath through every transition and you and Rogo will be fine =)
Now that you know the culprit is your left hand I'm sure you'll be more aware of when you need to fix it. Once you get in the habit of using it correctly it will become second nature to do it right all the time. Good luck with the bareback longeing. Nice save on the gallop back to canter transition.
TBDancer said…
Do you have a grab strap (bucking strap?) on your saddle? Donna Richardson was the clinician for the California Dressage Society's Adult Amateur Clinic this year and she had almost all the riders use the strap to help with issues like keeping the hands from crossing over, keeping them down, and aiding in the sitting trot (though from what I understand using the strap to "pull yourself into the saddle" actually does NOT put you in the correct position for sitting the trot). Anyway, the hand issue might be aided if you had that strap there to hold with a finger or two or just "brush" with the little finger so remind you it's there ... and where your hand should be.
Carol said…
Great idea TBDancer. I added one last year to learn to stop giving away my outside rein and it worked. I'll give it a try.
Thanks everyone. Greatly appreciated.
smazourek said…
I might have to take TBDancer's advice too. My hands seem to have a mind of their own. I swear sometimes they think they're riding a different horse!

Could Rogo be telling you he wants a more subtle canter cue?
Carol said…
Ha ha (subtle canter cue). Maybe, but the only thing I can think of that I did differently was try to engage him more before giving the cue (I've trying it for the last two rides). I thought my cue was fine, but then again, I think my left hand is fine too, until his head pops out.
achieve1dream said…
I was going to suggest the bucking strap too. :) It's helped me before. Let us know how that goes.

As sensitive as Rogo is I bet it was some sort of miscommunication on the bolting. I just can't see him doing it in a rude way, but then again I don't know him either. Either way you handled it well. :)