Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Subtlety

Until recently, most of the concepts we've been teaching Bridget (and myself!) have been pretty simple. We've come so far, but 99% of what we do is basic things, day in and day out. Correct repetition of simple exercises in hopes of building a stronger, more athletic pony.
Pretty much this for the first few months. Found via Google images, sorry no idea who gets original credit for this perfect 'Survival Pyramid"

Dressage training scale for comparison.

Now that we're adding collection to a fair part of the ride, things feel a lot more complicated. At least for me, and I suspect for Bridget also. The nuances we're looking for are becoming less obvious to me, which makes life a bit more difficult. Last night, EC put in a trainer ride on Bridget so I could sit and learn by watching. I love having a coach that can and will hop on and demonstrate concepts for you.

Last night's concept: Getting B absolutely straight and even on both reins, and really pushing from behind. It's very subtle, but in walk and trot she does tend to swing herself from side to side (a tiny case of the wiggles) rather than really powering forward. It's so subtle that I can feel it a bit intermittently in the saddle, but from the ground I can't see it in the walk at all. At the trot, you don't notice anything until she is using herself super correctly, and even then the difference is that her trot goes from nice to a little bit nicer. She's got a good natural trot, nothing fancy, but correct. If I can get her hind legs a bit quicker and add that tiny bit 'more' to it consistently we could build a better trot.  But, the improvements will be in little increments as she builds strength and balance. Nothing like the big changes that we used to be able to accomplish with a greener Bridget working on baby things. Honestly, last night as I watched, for over half the ride I was thinking B looked tight and rushed and a bit of a mess, but then some changes became evident and I could see the method to the madness. B was suddenly going as well as she does on a good day, but with a little more 'sparkle'.

EC, as always, has a plan stretching far into the future. She motivated me to be super disciplined by casually mentioning we need to start thinking about half steps but in order to introduce that as an easy concept for her we need her a tiny bit straighter and more balanced. If we don't ensure the trot is perfectly balanced now, we will run into trouble with piaffe/passage. Goals, we've got them.

I have no idea how my cobby little pony does the things she does, but I sure appreciate her willingness and this opportunity for me to learn so much with her.

5 comments:

  1. Lol. That pyramid is where Emi and I are at right now. :)

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  2. I love that first pyramid. Congrats on graduating to the next grade. :)

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  3. <3 that last picture. Also it's kinda amazing how the more we progress with dressage, the more it becomes about basic, fundamental concepts. Bridget sounds like she is doing so so so well!!!

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  4. Good to hear she is doing well! Exciting to think about half steps

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