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Working on lengthenings

July 28, 2016

 

Hanna told me that he looks good and his frame is definitely showing change when I ask for lengthening or shortening.  He looks much more forwards and his transitions have improved and seem lovely.  He lifts in front which is good.  

 

I still need to continue to ask for head up and chin tuck, as he likes to carry his head low and poked out.  I might have to ask for a rock back as this might will help his chin tuck. If he's still having troubles I can do some lateral flexions to help him stretch. 

 

My problem is that I am not sure what lengthening "feels" like from a regular trot, so I'm never certain if he is doing it.  Mostly it just feels like he is speeding up and of course then the head goes up and the face pokes out.  I don't necessarily feel the longer stride, since it is subtle to me.  So she said just to click, even if I wasn't sure but I think he might have. 

 

She also said I can improve his lengthening by asking for more lateral flexions by using tighter smaller circles. Then stretch out to a bigger circle and ask for lengthening; his hind legs will be more under him due to the smaller circle, so the lengthening may improve and we will get a lovely burst just because of this.

 

Another way to accomplish this would be changes of direction, as this will challenge his balance. 

    Figure 8's - ask for a shortening on the short sides and a lengthing across the middle

    Serpentines

 

My idea was to use two cones in the circle or along the short side and always ask for a lengthening between the two.  I felt like he might learn learn to anticipate and offer the lengthening when we get close to the cone.  

 

Hanna figured an even easier way to get him offering would be doing poles can encourage a lengthening, as he will anticipate going over the poles and begin to stretch out, so I can capture it right there. 

 

Other things to work on:

 

Lateral to Straight

Doing transitions between lateral movements (shoulder in) and a straight+lengthen is very helpful.  We will get more power since his legs are under him on the lateral movements.

    We could do lateral on the long side of the wall and straight on the short sides, or do a hexagon of poles and ask for lateral around parts of it and straight around other parts of it.

 

Combining poles and cones, lateral and straight will all be useful exercises, as well ask asking for him to lift his head and lighten the shoulders during these exercises.  Or going back and reminding him how to move his shoulders or hind quarters if he gets sloppy.  It also makes it less boring.

 

Canter: Can ask on the ground now and see how he does.  Then try to take it to saddle, especially if it feels right and he is doing well.

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