My clinics with Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez have really ratcheted up a notch. She is on me like white on rice and when I think it's finally over she calls out, "Ok, let's pick up the reins and get her connected...." and on we go.
It's a good thing she's pushing me hard I think.
We started immediately in our canter work focused on flying changes yesterday. We started off on a figure 8 asking for a change in the middle of the figure. If a change didn't happen, tickle with the whip... Sera likes to kick out with both hind feet for the changes. When she kicks out, usually a change occurs. Her kicks can be pretty big and they are ugly but never morphs into anything more or dangerous.
Seems like with all new things... they start out pretty ugly but once the muscle memory and how things have to happen gets learned, they get prettier and prettier. No baby learning to walk ever starts off strutting like they are on a catwalk ya know?
She seemed to "get" the change from right to left ok - not pretty but when she took one off my aids we called it good and started in on the changes from left to right.
Not so good. Much kicking out behind but no changes....
20 meter circle in counter canter, simple change to walk with an IMMEDIATE haunches in on the circle, and if Sera didn't move her ass over in response to my leg, there was a whip correction. Straighten to normal bend on the circle, and begin again with counter canter.
Debbie said this was to get her 1. moving off my leg quicker vs. blowing me off and 2. gets her thinking about her hind end.
Next came the change - I kept her in counter canter, half-halted and asked for a lead change, changing the bend of her neck with the inside rein and bringing my outside leg back. If no change, tickle with the whip... still no change?, continue in counter canter... gather her up, half-halt and ask again.
Sera was wet ears to tail as if I'd hosed her off when we were done. She works SO hard for me. I love, love, LOVE my mare.
Debbie says I need to do something with changes EVERY time I ride... not the level of pressure we put on her yesterday but something to keep her thinking about it. Gulp.
I cooled her out indoors til she was breathing normally... put her cooler on and tied her up in the sun to dry off. The girl trying Rosso brought him up... he was his normal bug-eyed, histrionic self. Poor fella. Must be hard living in his head where the hamster on the wheel is running at 180mph all the time.
I loaded them up and got home with plenty of daylight to spare. Was a really fun ride and a good day.