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August 2011
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Lateral Flexion, Bend and Counter-bend

Lindy is working on some kind of big-girl stuff this week.  Because apparently going to a show with Sadie is making me focus on Lindy a little more too.  This is partly because I’ve had a little more time to devote to the horses between waiting for the editor to send the novel back and getting some time off as my students take it easy for the first week of school.  It’s also partly because I am planning to take Lindy along to the show with us (because really, I need to complicate the whole experience even more than bringing along The Kid already does).

I’ve been riding Lindy while teaching lessons since she can benefit from doing a lot of the exercises I do with my students and since that’s a time when The Kid is otherwise occupied.  Plus I’m hoping Lindy will someday be a nice little school pony.  So far  she’s handled the idea really well.

I’ve been really frustrated when riding Lindy at her inability to laterally flex at the poll and maintain the same size circle.  I tried making the circle bigger.  I tried making the circle smaller.  I was trying to find Lindy’s Natural Circle, the one where she would just easily stay on the circle and get the experience of being balanced without falling in or falling out.

No such luck.

Then during one of my lessons, I taught the lateral flexion game (something I’ve done with Lindy unmounted) and discovered a “hole” in Lindy’s understanding.  When I rode her the following week, we practiced lateral flexion on the circle and Voila!  things felt a lot better.  Lindy just needed to go back and learn her ABC’s and then suddenly she was able to do a semi-credible spiral in and out on a circle (one of my favorite exercises for getting the horse supple and flexible and more balanced and teaching students to use their outside aids).  My student said Lindy looked really beautiful doing the exercise.  I’m not sure I’d go that far.  I can still feel how much farther Lindy has to go before she feels even close to balanced.  But we did get some flexion.  And she did maintain her circle.  And if I can just keep up this more consistent work schedule for Lindy… even after I’ve lost my extra incentive for tiring educating her, I don’t think it will really take too long for Lindy to feel a lot more rideable.

Of course, that’s the goal for this weekend too,  Hopefully Lindy and I will take a little hack out on the cross-country course (potentially crazy, seeing how I haven’t actually ridden her out on the trail yet, despite my best intentions…), go for a splash through the water obstacle, say hello to a real dressage court, and just generally experience a show environment.  Seems like a good step on our path to rideability (especially since it only costs $30 for stabling and schooling fees)… and if she’s too much of a crazed loon, maybe she’ll just get lunged and hand-walked and ponied.  It’s still good exposure, right?

I just hope that Sadie and Lindy don’t turn into super-bonded whinnying freaks at the show.

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