Louie and I have been having some nice rides lately, just not as often as I'd like. We had a lesson last week that really focused on getting me to stop gripping with my legs (read: knees) and just letting them kinda flop.
We worked on a lot of free walking with a really fast and reaching pace, focusing on him walking hard enough to drop his head and just keeping the lower body loose and flopping.
This helps to keep my hips and knees loose, and keep the weight out of my stirrups. We found that if I kept my knees bending and flopping off of the horse's sides, he was more relaxed and used himself nicer. We got some good work from the hind end and nice movement in his back in the trot. We found that applying (laying) the whip in the sitting trot, then keeping my legs loose and flopping, calves on but knees loose, we got a nice sitting trot that translated into a nice self-supported and engaged canter.
We were able to get some nice half halts in the canter too by just applying calves, and holding with the reins (not squeezing my abs til the cows come home and hoping he listens)- this resulted in a very quick re-balancing correction, and let us continue on in a nice balanced canter without deteriorating the quality of the canter until we broke to a trot.
It felt great to get some nice rides in, especially rides that felt good. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting off the farm this year with a schooling show or two! And maybe a WSCA show, trail ride, etc... yay!
Oh, I also got Louie a pretty new halter, but I can't seem to be able to upload it to blogger. Maybe later!