Half-Steps

I can’t get the farrier to come out.  Ava needs her feet done, and I feel completely at the mercy of someone else’s whims. *sigh*

We’ve started working on half-steps. It’s an exercise that helps increase Ava’s engagement. I’ve struggled a bit with Ava because she isn’t progressing the way she should if you follow the training scale correctly. I understand the building blocks and why those are in place. The problem is, Ava’s a bit backwards.  What has worked best for Ava is to teach her first how to engage, then we can work on relaxation and rhythm. Then we can ask a bit more engagement, and go back to finding rhythm and relaxation. Otherwise, she flounders. She scares herself silly and dives onto her forehand. She is utterly convinced that she’ll wipe out. So we teach her where her weight should be first, then we ask for more energy.  Instead of asking for the energy and then shifting it backward. It works for her. I wouldn’t recommend this for other horses, but apparently Friesians (and Friesian crosses) need the engagement first before they can really balance themselves under the weight of a rider.

Anyway, the half-steps…. Wow, that is cool! Take this with a big grain of salt, but it’s kind of a precursor to piaffe/passage.  Plus, it has really highlighted some straightness issues, and my restrictive wrists (Why am I so tight?).  To say I am even close to doing these well, is a total lie.  We utterly suck at it currently. However, it’s helping my timing, and really increasing my awareness of how/why to use my core to control forward movement.  It also really improves Ava’s suspension in the trot afterward.

Eventually I’ll capture our attempts on film and post it for you to see. So far, all I’ve gotten on film are a couple of ugly first steps and a lot of blank wall shots. hahaha.

I’ll post more on this later. I’m still gathering information at this point. If anyone who reads this blog has more information on half-steps, feel free to post a comment. 🙂  I’d appreciate it!

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