I’m sure I am not the only amateur rider who gets through a difficult movement and thinks “Whew! Nailed it!” and then “Uh Oh!” I have lost something; the frame, the impulsion, the bend, there is always something that disappears in that split second of jubilation.
In my Friday lesson this past week Belinda had me doing a half pass from center line to quarter line in canter, straighten, flying change and then 10 meter circle. I know this is an exercise to lay in the groundwork for a canter half pass zig zag. That zigzag is my nemesis, so working on exercises that require the same riding principles without actually doing the zig zag with me falling back to old bad habits is a good idea. For this exercise Belinda’s expectations are:
- A good turn onto the centerline. No falling in or motorcycling. Two hands, two reins even on both sides.
- Half pass . No forehand leading. No quarters leading or trailing. Frame is up . Active behind. No pulling down. Light in my hands.
- Straighten at the quarter line. Set up for flying change. No loss of uphill frame.
- Flying change. Clean change. Active. Uphill.
- After the change . No loss of frame or activity. No dipping down.
- 10 Meter circle. No motorcycling into the circle. Staying up and even. No loss of frame. No dipping down. No loss of bend.
The Whew Moment is Number 5. That is where I am busy congratulating myself on how well the half pass and change has gone and …..Uh Oh! My 10 meter circle is not up to par! I will end up motorcycling into it or Biasini will have dipped down and that nice uphill frame is lost. Belinda will have noticed this and she will let me know exactly what it is that I have just lost.
What to do? Well, I have to do the exercise again and Belinda will remind me of what I should have done to avert that moment.
- As soon as we land that flying change I do not take a even a second to congratulate myself .
- I half halt Biasini and depending on what Biasini needs in that moment it can be a ‘shoulder blade only’ half halt or a more serious, more physical half halt!
- Keep Biasini balanced and even in both reins and between both legs as we turn onto the circle.
- Through all of this I keep my own core balance and sit. Sit! Sit! Sit! ( in the saddle)
So there you have it. Here is a video from the end of my Friday lesson. In the video I am doing a different exercise, shoulder in to half pass in trot, but all the same principles apply. No Whew! and therefore no Uh Oh!
This week’s featured image is (C) Connie Gee.