We had are our clinic with JW this weekend. I was slightly concerned that I might spend the weekend fighting with Benny, but I should have known we just needed some outside input to get us un-stuck!
I told JW that we had been struggling; so she came over to check my tack. She felt like my saddle was a bit tight through his shoulders so we added a half pad to help. I think his recent weight (and muscle) gain has impacted our saddle fit. I already had an appointment scheduled with a saddle fitter and I'm glad I do.
Saturday we worked on getting him connected and did quite a bit of work really riding him forward in the canter. It was a fun ride and I was pleased with how good he was.
The second day we were able to get to work immediately with a lot less fussiness from Benny. We started off really solidifying the connection with him. I had him from the start, but the relationship was a bit tenuous. JW had my ride three loop serpentines and take him past a normal bend until I broke through the resistance. As he yielded we'd move back to normal positioning.
We did several leg yields off the wall to the center line, working on my access to each of his hind legs. We moved to a 20 meter circle in the middle of the ring with a 10 meter circle on each side (sort of like a snowman). This was actually pretty hard and I struggled to keep him connected each time we changed the bend. It slowly improved until we got some really nice work.
|I normally don't love myself in riding pictures but there's a lot I like about this photo!|
From there I asked him to canter. We had several rough transitions but the canter itself was the best he's ever done! JW explained that the canter transition was a struggle because Benny didn't know how to take the connection and power into the canter.
The clinic was at our barn and it was really fun to cheer on our barn mates. If you want better explanations than my poorly written, hazy memory, there is video to watch as well (I'll post it once I get it on youtube). I feel re-energized and ready to push forward to see how much more progress we can make.
This isn't an incredible photo except I really like how his inside hind is reaching up underneath him.
Side note, there was another rider who came from the barn that I purchased Benny from. I asked her if she knew him when he was there and she was shocked when I told her who he was! She didn't recognize him at all.