|If Stephen Colbert can do dressage, then darn it, so can I!|
Unfortunately I had fallen into the trap of over thinking and I lost the forest for the trees. I started questioning myself too much which resulted in some rides that were rather "blah" and didn't accomplish anything.
And then something clicked. Maybe it was from re-reading the comments for the 10th time, or maybe it was something in EventionTv's latest episode "How To Get A Horse On The Bit." Whatever it was, the light bulb came on and I realized that I was spending too much time thinking about my reins and hands and arms, and not enough time focusing on Hemie's hind end engagement. I was doing dressage backwards.
So my next ride I *really* focused on having his hind legs moving forward, tracking well up under himself. Wouldn't you know it, I started to feel progress pretty darn quick. Luckily I had a friend watching me, and her comments made me feel more confident in what I was feeling.
I acknowledge an old saddleseat habit of doing work in first direction (tracking left) before going second direction (tracking right). Second direction is harder for Hemie - he's not great at bending right and tends to start off tense. But by focusing on relaxation while still demanding forward motion from the hind end we got some incredible stretching and he lifted his back at least a full 2 inches.
Sometimes you have to take that step back in order to go forward! Basics for the win!