The last few lessons have been about keeping my new and improved connection and then using it – using it to ask for more sitting, ask for more power, for more collection overall. Sometimes I think “collection” is really not a great word. It makes most people think of getting horses to take smaller steps and have a shorter frame. I don’t know what word would be better. But while a shorter frame (hopefully from the back to the front) and somewhat smaller steps are part of it, the real collection is of energy. We want to gather more and more energy from powerful hind legs and keep it, have access to it, like a superpower, to put it towards a medium or a flying change, or a piaffe, or just a really good trot to walk transition. (My son is 4, so everything right now is about superpowers and ninjas…)
And having this incredibly steady, reliable, elastic but firm connection is what is going to allow me to gather that energy and create my superpower. And while I don’t feel like Superwoman quite yet, I am having many moments with all the mares of much more power and true collection. And it’s such an awesome feeling!!
With Blush, we’ve been working on this more at the canter, since that is her weakest gait. She is not built uphill, but she’s incredibly short backed, so it’s hard for her to stay really sitting without getting very tight. We’ve been using a lot of haunches in to keep the collection while trying to keep her somewhat looser through her tight, little topline. She’s really improving, and the quality of the canter is getting better and better.
Today Jen sat on Flow, which was wonderful. I’ve had people hack Flow, and I’ve had a couple students ride her once or twice for brief periods. But I’ve never let anyone really ride her. It’s not that I’m so overly precious with her, it’s more that I just want any mistakes to be my mistakes. Training a horse at this level is like creating a piece of art. And letting someone else do some of the training would feel like letting someone else do part of your artwork. It’s so personal. But I recognize the difference too, and I want the best for Flow, so I wanted Jen to ride her some while I’m down here. Flowy looked gorgeous, of course, and Jen liked her a lot. And then when I got back on I could feel a significant difference in the even-ness of the contract and how Flow was pushing forward to the hand. Yay!! Hopefully I can make it happen on my own soon 😀