Friday, August 29, 2014

Lots of on the Bit Work

 For Friday's lesson, I worked mostly and getting Chester on the bit, which can be a hard skill to learn. He knows how to bend his neck very well, but often doesn't use his back and really connect to the bit. I spent most of the lesson trotting Chester on a circle and trying to get him on the bit.  I supported with my outside rein and squeezed with the inside rein, holding my hands apart to keep connection with the bit. It is important that the reins are not floppy, a way to tell if you have a connection. After a lot of effort, I was able to briefly feel what Have a horse to truly on the bit feels like. The reins are straight and taut, not loose, and you feel a gentle, steady pressure from the bit.

Toward the beginning
 I had only experienced it briefly, so I continued to work on the skill, heeding in the other direction this time. Chester was getting a bit irritated about working and began evading to the side and not moving forward. My outside hand had followed his head,of course giving him what he wanted. Since he didn't quite want to stay on the circle, Meghan had me ride him around the dressage arena instead.

Trying to get him on bit.
 This made him happier, so I continued to work on getting him on the bit. Those brief moments that he did actually round up and come on the bit, I rewarded him. I was able to, even for short moments, connect him, so I began working on cantering instead to give him something fun to do.

This looks nice!
 I cantered on a circle at A, trying to achieve his slow canter, managing to be successful before heading across the diagonal to ride a circle at A in the opposite direction. I had to ride this circle several times because I needed to use more leg to keep him in canter.

 Next, I rode through the dressage test I'm working on. Since I already know the pattern well, I focused on fine tuning it by fixing little details, such as taking my time, going into the corners, and making the geometry perfect. Some of my figures were more accurate than others, and I made it into the corners better for the second half, but though it still needs a lot more improvement, it went fairly well.

 It's exciting to be learning all this new things, especially considering the fact that I have only been riding consistently since the beginning of the summer.


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