Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Update Time

Okay, so basically from the start of January on, Cadence had been having some issues in her flat work.  I've blogged about them before, but not in a while so here's an update from the weekend of the 9-10 of February.

Cadence and I were originally supposed to head out to a jumper show on the 9th (of Feb), but thanks to the snow storm the show was postponed. So instead I had a dressage lesson, which ended up being exceedingly productive. My coach wanted to try to sort out Cadence's new found canter/post-canter behavioural issues in the trot work so they were improved before we got to the canter work. Fair enough, but her trot work had been lovely and very sensible, and she hadn't given me even the tiniest drop of grief in the trot... so I hadn't really been able to 'sort' anything out.  Her idea as to how to lure Mr. Hyde out of Dr. Jekyll was actually pretty simple:
Cadence's biggest 'issue' is that she has a tendency to barge through my right rein when she gets a bit tired/crooked, rather than carry herself. So to coax out Mr. Hyde, we'd work some lateral work that would force her to come off that right rein.
We started by flexing her left and right while leg-yielding in the walk and trot to ensure she was supple, then moved on to haunches-in. It took a while to settle her in the haunches-in (she always overreacts when you first go to move your leg back & tries to shoot off) but once she was more relaxed we did a little shoulder in, and then moved on to a new exercise: shoulder in to renvers.  In the simplest terms possible, the first attempt at this exercise was a disaster.  Cadence basically bolted straight across the ring and almost ran over a (rather nervous) lady who was trying out a horse.  After that, the coach gave me a right draw rein so that I could attempt to hang onto that right side, and we decided to work in walk for a minute before attempting it in trot again.
Amazingly though, after working through it in the walk ad trot there was quite an improvement in Cadence and we got some of the best canter work we'd had in a while.  It wasn't 100%, but it was improved & I gained a new favourite exercise! So in short, we were not quite there yet, but we're improving.

Incidentally, I need to remember to sink my weight into my inside stirrup during haunches in (outside for renvers) because I have a tendency to basically move my inside leg away from the horse which 1. allows her to run through that side, and 2. shifts my weight into my outside seat bone which prevents her from stepping under herself with that hind leg.... which is kind of key to the exercise.

How our lateral work looks in my mind:

How our lateral work looks in real life:

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