Holy shizzam, was it cold today! Radar was definitely feeling it. Took us a while to get him warmed up and moving like an actual horse.
Good news is - I finally got him totally in front of my leg! It wasn’t for too long, but for a few minutes, he was forward and responsive to the leg - to the point where he gave me the canter for free. Good boy!
But in between the forwardness was the unending struggle of RADAR MOVE YOUR ASS. To get him more responsive to the leg, we paired the leg aids with the whip taps. Simultaneous WHOMP/WHATCHA (Chandler Biiing) eventually got him moving forward with only a light calf squeeze. That is, until he gets lazy again and you’re back to the whomping and the whatcha-ing.
As Radar was bred for pulling and loves it, the moment you feel his neck reaching down - not into the contact, but just plowing forward - he’s going to try to stop. He’s shifting into his forehand and his hind has quit at that point.
When doing a downward transition from trot to walk, half-halt and leg on immediately. We repeated this over and over again until he stopped “sliding” into the walk.
I’m slowly getting over my canter fear, which is a huge relief to me. I still tense up my forearms and lift them, but I’m learning to relax. Radar will “check” on me to see if I really mean the canter aids (cute because he twitches an ear back, but no), so I have to reinforce the aids until he’s in front of my leg. Boy has a motor on him when he tries, though.
I think I’m overthinking my leg position. The more I think about it, the more my leg tenses and it’s not possible for the knee to hang freely. I’m going to give the “think not, worry not” route a try for a while, and see where it gets me. As long as my turn-out doesn’t return, it should be okay. Right? I really need to focus on feel, and not so much on analyzing everything. I can’t micromanage all parts of my body while riding until the muscle memory sinks in.
Radar was such a good boy today. Too bad I won’t see him until the 29th. :(