Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Recap in Pictures

After a summer of foot surgery, no showing, a new lessee, and a new saddle, it feels like time for a review of the past several months' progress. Looking at these pictures, I think the positive change in Halo is very apparent. She's developed a lot more muscle, and is learning to use herself correctly. We still have plenty ahead of us, though - the canter and canter transitions need improvement, she is ready to do some low fences, and lateral work needs to come into play. All three of those things have been a focus for both me and Allegra over our last several rides.

Here is where Halo started out at the beginning of the summer in May.

That last picture in particular makes me cringe because of the way I'm popping up out of the saddle. My lower back is very tight, and there is a constant struggle for me to keep it soft enough that I don't hollow my back and perch on the front of my seatbones. If anyone has in-the-saddle exercises to help improve that, please let me know! Next is our first ride post-surgery, at the very end of July (yep, in shorts and sneakers, flame away):

These next pictures are from just a few days ago. I think you can really see that her muscling has changed and improved, and I'm finding that I have less trouble keeping my butt planted in the saddle where it belongs. Unfortunately carrying a whip seems to make me extra prone to piano hands, so I have some work to do on that front.

And here are some pictures of her with Allegra, whom I credit with 90% of these positive changes in Halo. I think a huge part of it is that I've always struggled with focusing on one particular thing with Halo. I couldn't decide what to do, and she's athletic enough to do a variety of things, so I didn't feel compelled to focus strongly on one aspect of riding. Allegra made a point of working consistently on dressage, and it shows in Halo's progression.

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