|Loving this face everyday!|
I had another good ride yesterday. It's amazing how many things you can know mentally but not realize you don't really know physically until you have those light bulb moments.
My latest light bulb moment has been about the fine line between soft hands and firm hands. What I mean is when you are asking a horse to accept the contact and pushing him up into it you have to give him a place to go. If your hands are too soft there is nowhere for the horse to go except straight through them. On the other end of the spectrum if you start trying to force the contact through hard, tight hands or the use of artificial aids you might get a horse that looks like he's in a good frame to uneducated eyes but in reality you will be far from the dressage ideal of a horse who has self-carriage. A horse that has been forced into a frame will never have the same expression and impulsion and pazazz of a horse that has been taught to not only have self-carriage but to even seek that contact on his or her own.
I know this is something most of us already know but it is something I'm really just learning to feel, physically. It's all because of the difference in my horse after the past two months of training. For the first time I can actually feel him starting to round and accept the contact even if it is only for a few mere seconds at a time. We still have so far to go but now that I am starting to know what it feels like I have something to aim for.
In the past I have often erred on the side of being too soft. I was so afraid of being that hard handed rider that I was just too soft and mushy in my contact. In some ways this can be just as irritating to a horse as over-bearing hands. I didn't realize how much muscle it can take to really get that contact especially at first. Loki does not have true self-carriage yet and still requires a lot of help from me. But I'm also learning that the trick is finding every single moment when I can soften and give to him as a reward for him moving correctly. I'm not sure if this makes as much sense written down as it does in my head, lol. But the bottom line is I think we are progressing!
|I'm pretty happy with his weight right now. Still a little ribby but I think that is going to be pretty standard for him for a while yet.|