Quick Recap

Doug lunged Rogo while I rode bareback yesterday. We worked up to longer trotting - several circles both ways, but it was pretty slow. I ride Savanah bareback everywhere, at all gaits, but Rogo isn't used to it and sometimes gets over-excited, so I'm taking it slow until he responds to aids bareback as well as he does with a saddle. I could feel my hips aching afterward, so it must be working, right? Boy, if I could get my hips to open and relax what a difference it would make. Now that it's getting closer, I can feel how it should be a little more with every ride.
Today I rode tests 1 and 2. I was quite happy with them. They aren't perfect, but for a horse and rider who've barely been able to ride for three months because of rain, and only 2 lessons from Joan in all that time (circumstances beyond her control), I'll take it. 
He's straight again (Yeah!), nicely forward most of the time, all transitions in the correct places, good figures (except stretchy circle). What a good boy. Our stretchy circle is rough, but it's coming along. He stretches nicely but doesn't steer well enough to do the circle well. I use my legs as much as I can, but it's rising trot so I can't use my seat as effectively as I could if I was sitting, and it's on a long rein. Any suggestions? Look where I'm going, weight stirrups as needed...???
I was going to ride test 3 as well, but there's a trot to canter transition in a corner that still has a big muddy area as you come out of it. He did a funny leap over the mud, but I continued on and onto the 20m circle. It was rhythmic and forward, but it didn't feel quite right to me, so I looked down and I swear to God he was counter cantering the circle! Was I imagining this? Is he really able to do this now? I mentioned a while ago that I'd asked him to counter canter to the center line and back and he did it easily, after not being able to do it last fall. I haven't worked on it since, but his balance and coordination must be coming along. Anyway, I praised him (it was an honest mistake and he held his canter when asked), and then we did the canter part of the test and got it right. I decided not to ride it all until the ring is dryer, because the transitions were in all the muddy spots :(. Then we worked for a very few minutes on leg yield and called it a night.
One of the best things about this ride was the forward and jump in the canter. Even when he started off flat a couple of times I felt him re-balance himself onto his hindquarters and really pick it up - power surge. Oh I love that! I live for those moments :)


Sounds like some productive work Carol! Don't you love that feeling in your hips after bareback rides?! :)

Suggestion for the stretchy trot - try using the outside rein to provide a (loose) wall. Just rest it against his neck, so he feels it is there, but no added contact. With the inside rein, provide an opening to move into.

Erik Herbermann says outside rein towards your navel - inside rein towards the middle of your circle. Keep hands at the same height! (We did tons of on the buckle work at his clinic) Legs stay the same - add inside leg, outside leg slightly behind the girth. Careful to weight stirrups evenly.
Carol said…
Sounds great. Thanks! I'll try to do it again as you describe. He'll walk it, but we get off course at the trot :)
LittleRedMare said…
My mare drifts in to the left and out to the ride (cause by BOTH me and her being having issues). One thing that helped to keep her steering on the circle to the right was for me to think about my posting to be going into the circle. Not straight forward, but at a diagonal into the center. Some how it helped to tether us!

Maybe it only worked for me because I was riding unevenly to start with. You know how sometimes it may have seem like an exaggerated effort when in fact it is just bringing you to center! But worth at try since it would be more subtle than trying to weight one stirrup more.
Carol said…
Thanks TDS! I'll check my posting and make sure my body is angled correctly. Sounds good.