Sarah took a bunch of pictures of my rides on Saturday, and I still need to go through them all and find some more to post, but this one inspired me to post real quick.
This was one of the last pictures she took. He had worked pretty hard, and at the end of a great canter, I did a trot transition and fed him the reins to stretch him long and low. The stretchy trot felt great, and I was really pleased to see this picture looks as good as it felt. His withers are still up in front, he stayed round and over his back, and the hind end is still working up under his body well. He took the reins all the way down (until I ran out of rein!). The only thing I don’t like about this picture is that it looks like the inside rein has lost good contact, although in the full size image it looks like the outside rein still has good contact on it. Riding it, it felt like he was reaching into the contact, so I think maybe this shot just captured a moment where we lost it, but I will be sure to pay attention to that when I ride today.
Although this may seem like a rather simple movement, I am really proud to see this. For one, it tells me that our contact is correct and he is reaching for the bit. But even more, it shows me our progress. Because he is not naturally an uphill horse (built or moving), it has been a long road getting him off his forehand (and then keeping him there), and even more difficult to get him to stretch down without falling on the forehand. What this shows me is that he has *really* built up strength and balance that he can carry this frame now, and that he is understanding the push from behind, over the back, into the bit. I think this was a big strength thing for him, because this development comes along with other recent progress in terms of things he’s been able to do for a while, but not do well. All of the sudden he is able to carry himself more easily through more difficult movements (see my “A First Level Exercise” post from a few days ago). It’s pretty exciting!!
Thanks for taking the pictures Sarah!