The paddocks were finally clear of ice today, so everyone got to go outside...Finally! With that, the horses were all in fine spirits and had that soft expression that's always so nice to have on the cross-ties.
With the Christoph Hess clinic being held in New Hampshire, it made me consider how forward I ride my horses. Often times, I think I need to ride much more forward than I do, despite the fact that people often comment that I ride "really forward." I'm also constantly explaining the need for forward when I teach. Regardless, when I mounted the gray beast today, I said, "OK Wheels, we're gonna GO today."
As I've described in the past, Wheels has issues with connection. I simply bridged my reins and off we went, really forward. He bounced around on my hands, snarked a bit about the contact, and finally went to work. It felt wonderful to have him suddenly roll through his topline, lifting his back, taking my hand forward and just undulate beneath me. It was super easy to sit despite the fact we were basically living between medium and extended gaits. He was also happy once he allowed his body to let go. By the end, he was moving easily sideways in lovely gentle half-passes and could transition between trot and canter with a relaxed neck. Brilliant!
Get your horses backs moving properly! Ride forward without rushing or running through your aids. Ride straight ahead and look up. Allow your horse's back to come up and meet your seat, carry you from his belly all the way through his spine. He'll get stronger and stronger and the collection will come easily!