July 25, 2012

Kasane learns consistent collection

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After the power outage this afternoon, I packed up my gear and headed out to find a place with free wifi. The Sheetz station has a cafe with free wifi, so I headed there — and to the tack shop behind it. The tack shop is going out of business so everything is 50% off, including the Cortiflex joint supplement I wanted to try for Prize and Kasane. At 50% off, that makes Cortiflex $10 cheaper per container than their regular supplement, AniFlex Complete. Plus Cortiflex gets better ratings.

I left the tack shop and headed out to the barn. The temperature dropped. The thunder rumbled around but no where near the barn. The clouds were gorgeous, the weather was perfect: I had to ride even though I’d left my ankle brace at home. I got Kasane in from the field, groomed her, and then lunged her. While I was grooming her, I kept telling myself to just let everything go and be there with her, in the moment.

I rode her in the all purpose saddle (in case it rained, I wasn’t pulling out the expensive dressage saddle) with a non-slip pad. Her front end must be finally catching up with the height of her rump because the saddle didn’t slip during the ride. She took a step when I mounted, I said whoa and she stopped without me touching the reins (BIG improvement). We walked out smoothly. My legs slid into place and my seat felt good and secure, moving with Kasane and feeling her side-to-side belly motion and the front-and-back of her legs. Focused on being quiet in my movements, of listening to how Kasane and I are together, and relaxing into it.

We walked on a loose rein for a while both directions, and she moved quietly off of my legs. Looked askance at the jumps on the side of the ring and kept moving. While she was looking at the jump standards, I asked her to make her body straight. Discovered that she can do a shoulder-in and shoulder-out. Little wiggle worm. I did manage to get her to go straight finally. She collected on a light touch: I picked up the reins and she relaxed herself into a lovely frame.

Her trot feels so different when she’s collected. She’s round and her back lifts (feels like she pushes the saddle up to your rump). Suddenly her movement changes from being smooth and even to bouncing and rolling while maintaining the smooth and even. It’s amazing to feel. I had a hard time getting Isis to do that consistently and Kasane just does it. Jennifer (dressage instructor/boarder) watched me a little while Kasane and I were trotting. She said it was the most put together she had seen us. (That’s a huge compliment.) Kasane repeated it consistently in both directions. I was positively beaming.

One of the things we’ve worked on is getting Kasane to stretch her neck and her back while walking. She was being so good with collecting at the trot that I lengthened her reins and encouraged her to go long and low at the trot. And she *did it* while keeping her back lifted, her legs moving underneath herself, and steering off of my legs and seat. First time I’ve really asked her to do that, and she does it text-book perfect. She did it both ways in the ring. I leaned back, she stopped, and that was the end of our ride.

I couldn’t stop grinning.

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