Well yesterday I typed up my entry and was in the process of uploading pics when everything just seized up, resulting in loosing all I had typed...argghh. Lesson learned, save work before uploading 'pics. Pic of Chapiro in the cold.
It was a good day yesterday and continued in the same vein today. Still freezing and so worked in the barn, for everyone who hasn't seen it it's approx 12mx8m and on a slight incline. Both days the mounting went well, he absolutely hates to stand still for anything but with the chance of a click he's prepared to give it a go., very pleased but must keep working on it for a while yet to be on the safe side. We worked on our halts, reinbacks and generally slowing everything down from the seat and keeping him very lightly into the rein. A few real *moments* where he and I timed cues, aids and responses to achieve what I feel we're aiming for. Just got to string the moments together now but I do feel much better about it all.
When I first came to France I bought the French Federation handbook for dressage (basically like the British Dressage rule book) and Cmdt Licart's book *Dressage*. Both buys were to help with the French dressage vocabulary and have pencil notes everywhere!! The Licart book is exceptional, it's not long (don't know if it's ever been translated to English) but has some real gems. His wise words on balance are really hitting home at the moment, with Moralejo's tendancy to curl over the hand and rush off I'm really trying to find a way forward to this.
In the past I always used movements to correct postural/balance problems e.g. put the horse into a shoulder-in and he will have to engage his hind more/open his shoulder more which will straighten him out.
Some tell me to keep my hand still and ride to it from my seat and legs, admirable intentions and has worked in the past for me with WB's and less energetic souls. Moo, however, is so full of energy it is almost electric. It is rare that anyone else has sat on him but when they do the look of *help* flashes across their faces, not that he is a dangerous horse but you can just feel his raw energy fizzing up constantly and it's hard to know what to do with it. Hence my search outside of the keep your hands wide and low and ride half halts into your hand.
So my thought for today from Licart is *Il faut d'abord le mettre en état de pouvoir obéir* in other words *it is necessary first to place the horse in a state from which he is able to respond from*
For Moo this state is one of calm and still, until he is calm and still I can't ask him for better balance and after all the reason he rushes and curls is his lack of balance. So it's a chicken or egg dilemma!! The thing that has hit me these last few days though, is that he will never find calm, still or balance when he stays in movement, it just gets faster and more furious and I end up having to use my hands more than I would like. So he gets one chance, if he speeds up I use my seat and a light feel in my fingers, if he ignores this then I raise my hands to bring the bit into the corners of his mouth and stop him instantly. So far he is grasping this and I can almost hear him thinking as we ride out of a corner and as he almost looses the balance, he steps under a little more and corrects himself. Licart himself quotes de Brignac as saying that centre of gravity is like a lead ball rolling in a tube trying to find it's *position*. This is like Moo at the moment, trying to keep himself balanced throughout our work.
Sorry off on one tonight!! Just some thoughts that are buzzing in my brain.