My last lesson with Nancy focused on the canter I'll need to aim for the changes, and I ended up with a huge list of positional issues to improve before we move forward. For the most part, most of these changes have to do with my riding, not with Pig. While he is the Captain of Evasion, his naturally fabulous canter makes the majority of this work easy for him (when I get it right).
The problems I brought to Nancy were 1) Pig constantly falls on his right shoulder, in all gaits, and 2) We keep flubbing the right canter depart, and I wasn't sure why. Here's a video example of our right canter depart flub...
- Instead of pointing my inside hipbone forward and up, I was putting it forward and DOWN. Basically stopping the movement up that the canter depart required.
- I'm collapsing my upper body to the right, again stopping Pig from being able to lift up and move through with his body. Oops.
- My right thigh is STILL creeping up to my ears. God. Why?
Once I get my torso up, I feel Pig take a bigger jump in his canter. Next thing I know, up comes my right thigh. It starts creepin' up towards the pommel of my saddle, like it wants to be besties with my belly button.
No thigh. My stomach wants no part of you. Stay down.
I fix the thigh issue by taking my leg off my horse, shaking it a touch to relax it (having a spectacularly lazy horse is useful here!), and thinking about pointing my knee at the ground. That lengthens my thigh, brings my heels up a little, and places my lower leg back where it's supposed to be.
Now with my leg in the right place, I realize that my hip bone has started pointing down instead of up again, and my seatbones have lost contact with my saddle. So I think about pointing with my hip up and in the direction of where I want to go. Leading the canter with my hip, if you will. At the same time, I locate my seatbones and make sure they are actually sitting, not hovering.
Now I've dropped my hands in an effort to manage contact, and instead totally losing my pony's cooperation. So, up come my hands and down and uber bent go my elbows. That usually offends Pig, so on go my legs to keep him moving into the contact.
My leg coming on hard will push my thigh back up. In the process of fixing that and keeping my hands up, I forget to keep my torso engaged and up. That means I can't keep impulsion going with Pig. So I pony kick, put my legs where they go, find my seatbones, and shove my torso up and through the space created between my arms.
We get a great big leaping and gorgeous canter stride.
Then my hip bone forgets to stay up. And the whole process starts over again... yeeesh.
|Things to do: Shoulder's down, torso forward, hips up, seatbones on, thighs down, legs on softer.|
Pig? You just keep doing what you're doing, horse.