Drawing the Bigger Picture: Part I

3 trainers, 8 days. Information overload? Just a little.

venndiagram

In many ways though, the lessons do overlap, even though each trainer had different ways of communicating the same things. Here are some of the theories that I’ve noticed transcend two or more of the lessons in just a short time period.

Response to the Aids
Foster should always be listening (ideally), and always waiting for the next cue. We’ve been together so long that sometimes I fall into being repetitive or allowing him to be ho-hum, which makes communication when I really need him a challenge. In our June jump lesson, the trainer had us do canter walk or canter halt transitions and incorporate turn on the haunches or turn on the forehand to keep him thinking about balance and reactiveness. In Bobby’s showjumping lesson, we focused on halting after fences or a line, to keep him coming back to me as the source of instruction. Both accomplish a horse that is listening and reacting quickly to my aids.

My [mental] picture of the right canter

My [mental] picture of the right canter

Focus on the Canter
The quality of the canter in showjumping is everything, and Bobby stressed that he be balanced and active when approaching fences. Similarly, in our dressage lessons we have been working on increasing the activity of the canter, which teaches Foster to sit while engaging his hind legs. Even though the truly collected canter is not a gait that you would use through a showjumping course, the idea of increasing engagement certainly translates.

[From the Clinic] Bobby Costello shows us how to use both hands and outside aids to make a turn to 9

[From the Clinic] Bobby Costello shows us how to use both hands and outside aids to make a turn to 9

Following with the Hands
All three instructors have now said something to this effect, which is saying something. In my June jump lesson, she reverberated pretty much word for word what BC said in the February clinic– push your elbows to the fence. With dressage, this really comes into getting the most out of the free walk by actively following the bit with my hands- even if there is slack in the reins, the horse can feel it and likely take that room to stretch down. With the collected canter, this comes as making sure that I am not constantly holding, which would make him heavier and heavier in my hands.

 

Tomorrow- 3 more things that have been beaten into me this week…

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9 thoughts on “Drawing the Bigger Picture: Part I

  1. quality of canter and following hands… can someone just follow us around yelling these things at us constantly? seriously tho – sounds like you’re making great progress with all the different approaches/perspectives to the same issues

  2. Good points! And I really need to improve my hand following. I get to the fence and then just lock up my hands, and it creates all kinds of crappiness. The one time I got that awesome pic of us just soaring over the jump-I FOLLOWED WITH MY HANDS. All the way there and over. I need to work on that haha.

    • It’s amazing how such a small part of us can have such a big effect over fences! Wishing there were more exercises/thought processes to help with this- if you have any ideas please feel free to share!

  3. Pingback: Drawing the Bigger Picture: Part II | A House on a Hill

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