The last week has gone by pretty quickly but it was a great one. Many days I was able to spend a lot of time riding. I got super lessons from Judy and Sven. They are both very picky about making sure “the motor” is working before you do anything else. They don’t want me to ride too fast, but the horse has to be eagerly waiting to go if I ask. The clearest example is on the 4-year-old, Favi. If I don’t have the motor going, he feels disconnected because he depends on that amount of push for his balance. A few times, I thought I had chosen the right tempo that was a little too slow, and when I closed my leg and pushed him a little quicker, the balance and the connection got better. Once that connection was confirmed, the tempo naturally slowed and he began to swing more honestly through his whole body. I also rode a few changes and a little piaffe on him. He is so smart!
I had a similarly enlightening ride on Brioni. She is a 7-year-old mare I will actually be showing next month. She is schooling about Second Level and is usually ridden by her owner, who is a teenage girl. I was cantering her the other day and I thought she felt pretty good. Then, Judy asked me to really connect the diagonal aids. On a circle, I was pushing her shoulder out slightly from inside leg to outside rein. Then I pushed the outside hind to the inside rein. I changed her position from haunches fore to shoulder fore a few times, and next thing I knew the canter rhythm and balance were much better because she connected from my leg to the hand. Afterward, I did some of the best lengthened trot she has ever done, and I could really feel her pushing through her whole body.
The weather here was a little rainy, and even though it is officially summer, there are many sweater-days. Because of the weather, however, it is beautifully green and everywhere I look I see gardens of vivid flowers.
Above is a photo of the view from the horse show and (below) is Sven winning last weekend!