ACTIVATE! This was the key for a lesson of canter work. I think that Activate may be my coach Belinda Trussell’s favorite word! What does it mean? It does not mean to go faster or bigger. It means stay in the collected canter and create more jump, more activity in the hind end. Not so easy to do this! But in this lesson I began to get a grip on how to achieve it. We did quite a bit of work on 10 meter circles. I was able to keep the activity and also keep him up and light in my hand.
It was a great feeling.
But when Belinda asked me to do a half pass I defaulted to old muscle memories. I tightened up: arms, wrists, fingers all tight and clamping. Then Biasini also clamps and pulls down. As I turned into the half pass I clamped. Then I thought ….WAIT! What am I doing? Just ride it like the circle. I unclamped! Biasini responded.
It felt wonderful! Here is a video. Belinda , whose eyes are as sharp as a hawks’ could see the moment I let go and rode the half pass.
Just in case you think I had nailed it and never looked back this week we had a lesson and Biasini and I could not get on the same page. Biasini just was not in the mood for being up and light in the canter work. I knew how it should feel and I did not want to fall back on my old muscle memories but I could not seem to get the result I wanted. Tough lesson. I shall tell you more about that next time.
- Featured photo (C) Connie Gee*