January 6, 2014

Snow n'at

Madame winter has officially arrived. The month of December was rather chilly and filled with way more snow than usual. Even though the weather wasn't always cooperative, I was able to do a lot of teaching throughout the area while also keeping my own horses going sans an indoor arena. My approach to the work has been playful and relaxed, and I think it's working well for me. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ride Audi in a lesson with Leif Sørensen last month. This was my first lesson with Leif and I was amazed with how quickly he zeroed in on our weaknesses. Leif focused on three things throughout the lesson: the tempo, the placement of the Audi's neck and the alignment of Audi's shoulders. He reminded me that I need to always reference these three pieces when I ride and that if something isn't going well, it's probably because one of those pieces isn't correct. We worked a lot on Audi's canter and utilized the counter canter to improve the straightness. To improve the activity of the hind leg in the trot, we worked on a circle lengthening and shortening Audi's stride and asking him to yield away from my inside leg in the more collected trot work. I felt an improvement in the quality of Audi's reaction to my aids and also felt him swing more through his back. The lesson gave me a lot to think about and has been long lasting. Audi gives me a much better feeling in my hand than he used to, he's much softer in the jaw and I love how supple he is through his neck and shoulders. Last week he was so good that I even played with canter pirouettes and they felt great.  

Steffen Peters reinforces to his students that when you train horses you are not just training them physically, but mentally as well. Right now I feel as though I've opened a door to a new chapter with Audi and am becoming better at riding him both physically and mentally. We have moments together that feel sublime and I've got a hunch we're onto something good!

Happy New Year!

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