Thursday, April 12, 2012

Changes are A-Comin'...

I'm not talking about new farm improvements or swanky new club clothes (come on, you mean to tell me that horse slobber shows up under the black lights?). I'm talking clean flying lead changes while prepping for third level.

'Whoa, whoa, whoa... Third level?', you ask 'Whatever happened to second level? I stalked your CenterlineScores and nothing you currently own has so much as even tried a test with a shoulder in in it!"

Well, as a pro (snicker snicker, cough, cough *regain composure*), I feel that it's high time to start schooling above second level. I mean, lets face it, RC's a pro and second level with all of it's busy changes of bend and whatnot is nearly tailor made for him. So, time to up the ante and learn some changes.
No sweat, right?

Good changes, on the other hand, might take a while.

So, I asked my sister, the Flying Change Guru, for some good exercises for improving the changes from the current flinging-legs-around-randomly style to something a tad more... sedate. I've had reasonable success with the half pass to counter canter to flying change in the corner, but in the itty bitty indoor that I've been confined to, I needed to find something else that might work.

Enter Exercise One: Counter canter a half circle , flying change to true canter, and back to counter canter. Rinse and repeat.

Well, we tried it.

And it was a spectacular fail, so I guess we'll revisit it in a few days.

Now, RCs first instinct to anything new is to tighten his back and launch himself forward. While this kind of works for the changes (except for that tight back bit), it makes for some pretty creative moments.
Our first change (counter canter to true canter) was uneventful, giving me hope that I had stumbled upon some magical exercise. The second change (true canter to counter canter) was a little sticker but still clean. The third change - back to true canter- RC started thinking. And problem solving. Changes four five six and seven happened without any rider input, and were rapidly degenerating into sideways crooked leaps.
Circle the wagons, change directions and get a relaxed canter.
Good, good... Now try the exercise this way.... unasked for, out of control two tempis on the circle.

Guess it's back to trying for those single relaxed changes... And this was supposed to be my 'day off of riding'. Sucker.

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