Today was a fun day! Freddie came and did Dan's feet and then I met Kelli for a ride. We did some dressage and then went for a hack.
We had a decent dressage ride but I started to get frustrated because we kept losing our right lead canter when we did the counter canter. Even the smallest serpentine. So I asked Kelli for help. Apparently I'm sitting with my shoulders and belly button facing to the right. And then I almost made it worse when I tried harder to stay right. Kelli told me to sit left and move my shoulders back to the left and sink into my left leg. Huh.... go figure?! It worked! But then I started to wonder if it would mess up my flying change. But it was great, but because I was able to think through it and play with it, and it freakin' worked!! So... cantering right... keep my left leg slightly back and keep my right hip cantering. Then when we start to do the counter canter, he needs to stay straight in his shoulders. This means that my shoulders need to stay straight. My hips need to stay right. So... if I took my left shoulder back and sank into my left seatbone... it essentially put my upper body straight (because I tend to collapse on the right side and twist to the right). And he freakin' held the counter canter. Whooo hooo!! So we quit with that and went on a trail ride.
On the trail ride I was practicing that a little bit - just at the walk and then I realized that I probably have the same issue with the haunches in.. and maybe even the shoulder in. Kelli was super helpful too. She said that I should start with very small subtle but correct shoulder in and haunches in and then build on it. If I start small but correct.. it will build his strength better and make us have brilliant correct ones quicker than rushing it and getting the more severe angle but not quite correct. So.. for the shoulder in.. instead of having him fall in and then starting it by throwing his haunches out... I need to do it right. Get the inside flexion.. keep my hips straight... keep my outside leg slightly back as a buffer to keep them from slinging out, and then ask for the shoulders to move over by moving my shoulders over. And I need to open the inside rein and keep my thumbs up. Then for haunches in... Oh my goodness!! It was so hard to over-ride my brain. Especially to the left. I so want to to cross the left rein over his neck instead of opening it. It's soooo hard to open it. So yes, for example, tracking left, haunches in... I get slight left flexion, close my inside leg, keep my left shoulder back and my weight on the left side, and then ask the haunches to come to the inside. Keep my left rein open and my right rein at the base of the withers. And my thumbs up.
I'm excited to work on it again. Danny is such a good boy and tries so hard to do what I ask. I just have to figure out how to ask correctly.