Haunches In

Usually when I ride Liam, I begin the warm up letting him stretch at the walk, then as I pick up the reins I start moving him around a little more.  We do circles and leg-yields, bend left and bend right, and maybe a little shoulder-fore.  But until today, mostly what I moved around was his shoulders, and as long as I could keep the back end connected over his back, I was happy.  Today, he offered me something new.  I don’t even remember what I was trying to do or about to do, but my outside leg slid back, and his haunches moved over to the inside away from my leg.  My face lit up, I told him good boy, and straightened him back out to try it again.  Sure enough, he did it again!  Then I tried the other way, moving the haunches out, and again he complied like he’d been doing it his whole life. This is amazing because previous (not recent) attempts resulted in zero success.

This is one of those simple things in life that only a dressage rider could get so excited about.  It is one of those moments when I can notice and appreciate the progress we’ve made.  But even more, it shows me the work I’ve been doing with him is correct and is building him up physically, as well as mentally increasing his understanding of my aids.   Even having never practiced this, it is now “just happening” because he was ready to offer it.  To me, that is a beautiful moment in training.

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