I really appreciate all the supportive comments on the last post - I suppose that it's fair to say that, when I write these posts, I'm "expertly me", with all my flaws and imperfections as a rider. Since I don't presume to be an expert, or to tell anyone how to ride, my blog is about what I do with my horses, every day, as honestly as I can tell it. And if my position's not that great in certain photos or videos, that's OK - in fact my posture and position have been a focus in my work for the past year or so, and I've made some improvements, and I actually think I ride a lot better now than I did when those sidebar posts were done. Anyhow . . .
I have a terrible cold - and today is day 4. Even with decongestants, I still feel pretty awful. Nevertheless, I rode all three horses, and in fact felt a lot better while I was riding. I've been working on the same thing with all three horses - keeping my focus up and out, posture open, and allowing with my body - particularly opening with my inside hip and shoulder to indicate bend and allow the horse to move without constraint. I'm also working on keeping my leg off and hand very soft and having the horse move up and through me from the hindquarters. I can tell if I'm doing this if the horses deliver forward with softness and tracking left and right feel about the same - if they don't feel the same I'm probably blocking the motion somewhere with my body.
With Red and Pie, I've also been working on getting consistent forward - not just speed but engagement - at all three gaits - plus softness. Both boys would just dink around given the choice. With Dawn, on the other hand, forward is almost never an issue - with her combining forward and relaxation is the challenge.
So allowing, and forward. All three horses were really excellent today - I had the advantage of riding in an empty ring for most of my three rides, which helps my concentration. I got some real relaxation and softness from Dawn, some excellent engagement and forward with softness from Red, and excellent energy, forward and softness from Pie. Who could ask for anything more?