It still was in the minus numbers this morning but the sun was shining and it melted half of the school so we were able to add a teeny tiny bit of canter and trot work in with out walk schooling.
We were mostly working on (well, I was) softening my inside rein especially when on the right rein (which I have been finding the hardest rein to do it on) and working on going down the center lines STRAIGHT.
At first, I practised both things at a walk just to get the feel and is started to click. For softening the inside rein, I really have to think about sitting up and back, right shoulder back and give giving inside hand a little bit forward but still maintaining a VERY VERY soft and gentle contact. As Lili said in my last lesson, it like feeling nothing. When we achieved this, I found that my outside rein softened even more to a slight contact on the rein and Hattie carried herself better. When we were doing this consistently at a walk, we upped it to a trot and practised it by trotted down the center line at A, halted at G from a trot, walked to C and then asked for a trot on the right rein until K when we picked up a canter. We did a mirror image of this exercise on the left rein as well.
I remembered while going down the center line to set her up as if we would be turning left at C to prevent her from drifting to the right off of the center line and I must say our lines were A LOT straighter today!
It's only baby steps just yet but I think today we made real progess with softening the inside reins and having straighter center lines. hopefully if we keep up this good work, we can claw back some marks from the judge next month when we do the Prelim 1 tests.
For those that don't live here in England but that wanted to read the mini article on off-side side saddles that was published in Horse and Hound magazine this week, they have put it online on the Horse and Hound website.
My saddler also called me yesterday to let me know that we will do a final test run of the new panels on my off-side Beck Morrow before he recovers them. His car blew up so he's not able to do any fittings at the moment but will let me know next week when he'll be able to come and finish my Beck Morrow which is good as my poor hip felt very jolted today.
Although the panels were originally covered in leather, I think I'm going to opt for linen lined panels as Hattie seems to prefer fabric to leather on her back. Maybe it is warmer for her and it does offer more grip on my awkward conformation than leather does.
Even though my Beck Morrow is coming back soon (hopefully), I'm still considering investing in an off-side Zaldi for heavy duty riding. I'm worried about wearing out my 114 year old Beck Morrow and although the tree is reinforced for jumping, the flat felt panels and sweepy seat, make it more suitable for dressage and flat work than jumping. It's something I'm going to have to think about.
Talking about 114 year old saddles....
This is a scan of a late 1860's- early 1870's CDV photo in my collection of a horse with a rather large side saddle on his back! The saddle looks new so maybe this photo was taken for posterity to celebrate the buying of a saddle which would have been rather expensive judging by the quality of it (wonder where it is now?). Nevermind coming past this horse's last rib, it's nearly to his croup!