A breakthrough?

For the last week I've been thinking a lot about how to ride Rama when he gets super hot during our test at competitions. I know how to ride a hot horse since Vallu is basically like this every single day, and I know how to ride Rama at home or during trainings and I know how to ride a test properly because I did about forty competitions with Basse when we were in England. So if I have all the pieces of the puzzle, then how do I get them fit all together?

I do not want to go to another competition and end up struggling to control Rama and to get him to listen to me throughout the entire test. The problem is that Rama is never hot like he is at a competition when he is at home. Well, I realised that I have never even tried to get him to become super hot, because once I get him working and moving nicely forwards, I don't want or need to push him anymore. So yesterday I tried and succeeded to push him towards that fine line between super-hot-but-in-control and full-crazy hot-not-in-control.

Once again, doing tons of transitions helped! 

Our first exercise was to do collected canter on the short side and then medium canter on the long side of the arena. Rama loves this exercise, and it's really fun to feel how much he can collect and extend.

Then lots of trot → canter → trot transitions, where the canter section was very short and collected, (even nearly a pirouette canter) so that Rama really had to work from behind, activate the hindlegs and get his front up. Every time we went from this type of canter to trot, the trot was fantastic; bouncy, big and forward going. Rama started getting pretty excited during this exercise, and when I stopped cantering and just practised trot, he started running through and not listening. Bingo, I hit the jackpot! This is exactly what he does during the test! 

In order to get him to listen to me, I decided to try doing some trot → halt → trot transitions. The first couple transitions had to be pretty strong because Rama just really wasn't listening to me. But once he realised that there was an in fact a person riding him, we moved to trot → walk → trot and then everything started to click together! Yay!

Notes: I must remember that I need to have a soft outside rein: elastic, very flexible, lots of space for Rama to move, and must not be holding him back at all. The inside rein should still be flexible, but doing lots of squeezes like as if squeezing a sponge dry, resulted in Rama becoming very soft and it seemed like Rama liked it! 

I really hope that this will work the next time we go to a competition, which will hopefully be 30.6 at Vihti Dressage Center.

A few pictures of Rama before and after our competition last Saturday. Have I told you how much I love horse after competition curly hair??

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