My lessons lately have been super focused on turning and straightness. Sounds simple. Is not simple. Why are basic concepts so hard?
We started the lesson by turning up the quarter line to a small caveletti. We were supposed to be tuning into how much aiding we needed to turn (A lot? A little?) and then focusing on straightening the rib cage. The aids required to do this can be so varied, it depends entirely on your horse, and which direction you are going. Rio is easier to get straight after turning left, but harder to turn. He turns right really easily, but then I struggle to keep him straight to the jump. REALLY tuning into what aids I needed and how he responded to them was like mental gymnastics for me.
I tend to focus on using my outside rein to turn the shoulders. I didn’t realize I was locking up in my side rein and shutting down his motor in the processes. I kept missing the distance to the jump out of the corner because I wasn’t flowing through the turn. Then when we did flow through the turn, I found myself over shooting the turn, never getting him straight, and again missing the distance. AHHHHHH! SOS send help!
It was actually a great lesson though. Once my trainer got me to use LESS rein overall and become more fluid with my aids through the turn, we found out straightness and distances effortlessly. She had to coach me through letting go of the turning aids before I thought I should and then assessing the straightness of his ribcage and adjusting with my leg if necessary. When we kept a freer pace through the turns, the straightness came easier as well.
The majority of my barn is going to be gone horse showing this month, so we will have lots of down time to ruminate on what we’ve learned about turns. I’m taking Rio to my parents’ house this weekend for some R&R and to trail ride. I think he will enjoy a relaxing change of scenery. Plus, he will get to meet my old retired horse who still lives there. It will be adorable and I plan to take lots of pics!
P.S. I finally sticked Rio with a real stick that I found at the barn. It is only marked till 18 hands. He is taller then that by a smidge. Safe to say he is a SOLID 18 hands. He doesn’t really look it in pictures, but keep in mind I’m 6 ft myself and basically all legs. Who also has gentle giants??
Hope everyone had an amazing weekend! Big thank you to my hubby who has been helping me with photography by not only taking the pictures but also learning the ins and outs of cameras and lenses to better optimize. He’s the bestest.