Recall that I'm having a struggle in my lesson with crookedness. Here's what happens...
|Not Kristin, and not me, but this is "the demo"|
My trainer Kristin and I are in the center of the ring, and Kristin stands next to us. She gets in a "riding position" and illustrates the key weaknesses in my position that are allowing or causing crookedness. It's a body tendency I instantly recognize -- collapsing and uneven hips, over-rotating my upper body. Then she demonstrates how to correct each flaw, repositioning her own hips/torso, and guides me in making the same corrections. I do. She nods, but it's not yet 100%. She says, "move your hips and torso even more to the right." I do, and when I feel like I am close to toppling off the other side, she says, "now you are straight."
We walk on a circle and Kristin keeps a near the reins, monitoring my contact and position. Ri starts to fall, but instead of impulsively grabbing the right rein in a punishing way, I follow Kristin's instructions to "tuck in" the outside shoulder and gently pulse and release the outside rein, releasing instead of holding. I add a little inside leg, and Ri responds by standing up more in his shoulder and stepping under. Yeah!
Back on a circle
Kristin has me move on a circle around her. Now, though I again feel like I'm practically falling over the outside, I can't help but notice that that Riley is easily bending around my inside leg. And when his inside hind leg "threads" slightly between his two front feet, I feel his back lift and something clicks. His neck, which was stiff as a board, feels round and rubbery and he is moving more into the outside rein. I can't help but feel that he has been waiting for this all along. It's now easy to keep a light, quiet contact. The gears are aligned and he is flowing forward like a waterwheel. Now I can feel where he is between my seatbones, too.
Riley is now stepping lively. We move into a trot. I tap with the inside leg, and Ri has a power surge! His back is soft and springy for a half-circle, and I have a place to sit comfortably. When I feel the energy dissipate, Kristin reminds me to sit more to the outside (which makes me straight). Again, power surge!
On to Part III