One of my BFFs and an amazing colleague Geoff Butler was kind enough to come back to Eastern North Carolina for another clinic at the farm. It was a full weekend of rides and I think everyone had a great time. Looking back at my June clinic notes ( from working with Geoff I realized we REALLY have come a great distance in a short time. Hansel is a very sensitive horse which makes him challenging but oh so very fun when things are correct!

Just four months before we were working on in front of the leg and coming into the hand and while with most horses this is a lifetime work in revisiting Hansel really got it. Since June we have our change, have worked the passage to improve the throughness in the trot (wow did that work!) and are ready to delve into half pass. I’m not one to think there’s only one path or one series of steps one should take to get “there” but likewise I don’t think you should push a horse when they are not ready. That said, Hansel has an excellent passage and we even touched on piaffe one day so it’s in there. The passage to trot transitions recently has improved in front of the leg immensely! Here’s a few notes from my training journal with Hansel from our October weekend working with Geoff.

Going to the right try to sit deep into that inside leg and not be throw outside. This is not all me but I take the blame. I’m definitely stronger with my left leg and because of Hansel’s way of going it’s even more challenging but this sitting into that right leg especially when going to the right has helped with our balance together tremendously!

Counter flexion feel going to the right to keep him from dropping on the left shoulder. All gates. Again this is my weaker side and Hansel does like to drop or push into his left shoulder. Just the thought of counter flexion and I was able to keep him straight!

Bring the trot back a bit more especially to the right so he doesn’t take those crazy big steps and almost go into the canter. So bring it more back and up in the shoulders and neck. A mere 4 months ago and we were working on activating those hind legs and now he’s so active that I am riding the trot more conservatively. You’ll notice in the clip of him going across the diagonal away from the camera how expressive his trot (once the strength is there) will become.

Either direction shoulders to the right with left flexion and to keep haunch from swinging and ask a little more forward with both legs. Again we’re back to the arch nemesis that left shoulder. It’s a no brainer to say keep them straight and in front of the leg (the key here being active off both legs) but when straightness is compromised, a little fixing of the straightness coupled with activity off both legs is just a miraculous thing!

Here’s a few clips from one of the rides that address the work mentioned in these notes.

[jwplayer config=”Blog Player” mediaid=”2487″]