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Rafi and I had a great ride today! In fact, it’s been over a week of great rides. While I won’t say I’m having light bulb moments, I will say that I’m building consistently on the rides I am having. The feel for the elusive partnership….it’s really starting to happen just now.

I watched my video of my Three One class at DEE. Of course it takes me a moment to reconcile how heavy I look compared to my memory  of how the ride felt. I am convinced we ride with our skeletons!!! Hence my love/hate relationship with the camera. I feel so different from how I look! Anyone else out there go through this???

But I don’t want to dwell on my body image problem! Other than to say that I WILL be upping the cardio in my life…  No. I really want to try to articulate what worked in the ride. My use of my back is certainly in a new place. Never thought I would be thankful for that back/boob sprain! But working around an injury can be incredibly educational. Looking back over the last six weeks, my current progress probably germinated there.

Getting my back engaged finally into my seat has allowed much to happen. More seat independence for starters….then Rafi’s increased respect to my driving aids which in turn allowed my seat to relax into her yielding back….which allowed me to affect her shoulders….her coming up and free in the shoulders delivered quieter hands…which allowed more suppling of her neck and poll…It’s cool…everything yields something else…I give to her, she gives back another piece of the puzzle and so on…

I had Cathy on her today for the initial warm up….she hadn’t been on Rafi for a good ten days or more. First thing she exclaimed how soft she was in the bit. I was thrilled as I have worked very hard to break up her tendency to bear down and stiffen, especially on the left in the trot! It’s nearly gone now. Rafi is falling in love with my new yielding hands. Now I have to get her more supple in the right canter.

Watching Cathy and comparing Rafi’s frame and impulsion to the show video of me riding yielded good insight. Cathy gets no more ground cover in her gaits than I do. But there’s an attitude to the energy when Cathy gets more electricity from Rafi. When Rafi is more through as she is under Cathy, all her joints bend more, she is more up and out of the withers. While she moves no faster for Cathy than for me, the medium and extended gaits flow ride out of the posture.

I sort of knew this intellectually, but not having felt it in my own riding, I think I was looking for some other indication from the mare of what this additional impulsion might feel like. Today I embraced this energy from a different angle. I asked for it….but I asked that Rafi channel it up and out instead of physically forward. It’s a bit like asking for piaffe except that you’re asking her to give that impulsion of collection to all the exercises.

I don’t think even now I am doing justice to how this feels. I don’t want to present it as kick, brace and hold….because that just shuts the horse off. There is a brace and posture in the rider though, but it’s attached to yielding…there is nothing static in the place you are asking the horse to go to. And yet there is a giving stillness about it…

Okay….I feel like I’m getting too esoteric….I want to share the feel but can’t explain the kind of half halts for the life of me! It’s good I’m not an instructor! LOL

Cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!