You probably didn’t know this about me, but I’m psychic. Like three days before my lesson with TrainerA on Thursday (two lessons in one week? CRAZY, I KNOW), I decided it would be fun to try to push Raglan’s trot out. EXTENSION RIGHT? But I put my leg in to send him forward and… nothing. Or he’d jump right into a canter instead of stretching himself out the correct way.
As much as I love our weekly jump sessions, it was definitely time for a good flat lesson. I told TrainerA that I wanted to work on skills that get us closer to smooth flying changes. After watching us warm up, she decided to focus on pushing Raglan’s butt further underneath himself by putting more power into his trot.
It didn’t matter what I did, though, Raglan wouldn’t stretch. Eventually he got fed up with my spurs and fake-spooked in disapproval. I rode through it, then dismounted and handed his reins over to TrainerA.
After TrainerA loosened him back out for me, I got back on and she coached me through finding his more powerful working trot. The solution, surprisingly enough, was to take my leg off. I was closing a part of my thigh that was preventing him from moving out properly. The moment I stopped gripping with my thigh/knee zone, he started offering more engagement.
TrainerA also had me riding with my hands wider apart to help stabilize the bit more and prevent Raglan’s head from wobbling around (a bad habit I’ve taught him, since I tend to seesaw when I get nervous).
We carried the same concepts over to the canter, where I quickly discovered that I need to be sitting more often (usually I ride in a half seat) and that his right lead canter needs some major work. He still feels fast and out of control to the right; it’s a symptom of him not being as lifted as he should be. We need to improve this before we go back to our flying changes!
I’ve got a lot of good flatwork stuff to work on now 👏