And so, as I wrote in my last blog, we attempt to losen up a very stiff and unbending Pippi. Ha, that's not really fair, she bends, just not well enough.
Trainer asked me to work on softening, and one of the things she said was to ride a lot of serpentines. Like snake serpentines. A few strides in one bend, and switch, a few in the other and switch. She wants me to be consistent with the same amount in each bend for a while until Pippi gets the concept, and then start switching it willy nilly just to really work on flexibility.
On my own, I came up with an extra plan. First off I shortened my stirrups, (just one hole) so that I would get more heel on. Thereby be able to use my spurs better and easier., Looong legged with smaller horse. I then read an article "How to Help Your Stiff Horse," by Jane Savoie. Great article.
So using that information I made some adjustments for Pippi. I rode the long sides of the arena in Counter flexion, which as the article described is more like a Haunches in/shoulder in movement. When we arrived at the corners, I released and let her pick on her own, and she naturally switched to the correct bend. I kept that bend through the next corner, and on the long side did the counter flexion again.
Pippi was more able to bend with her nose to the wall, go figure, and kept that bend easier than she does normally. Normally we have issues traveling to the right, but when traveling left with a counter bend she was softer. Again, Go Figure!! We did this going both directions, and both worked really well. After that I attempted the legyields, and, according to Donna, Pippi was crossing pretty good. I was able to keep her level, and we certainly hit the wall (coming from center line) faster than I ever had before.
So, this was cool. I can't wait to work on it some more. To be honest I really felt a discouraged, but after this I am ready to keep going. We will get there, one bend after another.