What I’ve learned in a week of working on a straighter horse that’s using her back better, is this… it’s all incremental levels of straightness, connection, and engagement. I think for some reason I’ve always had the idea that connection was either there, or not there. I mean, I get that connection can be better, or worse, depending on the day and other factors, but I think I was holding onto a believe that for the most part connection was just there. But it’s more complicated than that. And my belief about connection was hampered by the idea that connection has to do with the bit and the horse’s mouth.
From what I’m learning, it has very little to do with the mouth, and so much more to do with having the horse directly between the knee’s and powering off both sides evenly. This is my tentative theory on the whole thing (take it for what it’s worth. ha)… If your focus (not eye’s, just focus) is aimed toward the horse’s withers and keeping those directly in front of your hips, then your horse can push through with more energy and you can “contain” it easier with smaller adjustments through the reins.
Easier said than done.
I’m still not quite ‘getting’ the bigger picture, because I can’t fix the issues that occur between lessons. But I feel like we’re in one of those low points where a big “Ah Ha” will hit eventually. It’ll just take some time. Until then… it’s frustrating when you know what it should feel like and you’re not quite able to keep that feeling going as well as you’d like to.
And thank goodness for very patient, and knowledgeable trainers (Thank you, Bern!).