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July 7, 2010

I participated in a clinic with Elaine Gibala two weeks ago.   In our lesson, we focused solely on shoulders and moving them around to help keep Carly lifting up and straight, without falling in anywhere.

The main idea wherever we went was to lead out or in with shoulder.  If we can control the shoulders, we can control everything.

Here are the various exercises we did to get her shoulers lifting up and moving over:

Go in 10 meter circle.  Make it bigger by leading out with shoulder and make it small by bending to outside and leading inside with shoulder.   Do this at walk, trot, and canter.

Serpentine moving shoulder out.

Leg yield by moving shoulder over. Open inside hand to get butt caught up.

Turn on haunches.

After doing all these exercises, the next day, in the jump lesson Carly was up in her shoulders instead of on the forehand with minimal effort from me.  I kept her straight to the fences and got our lead changes.  She seemed especially cooperative, but I think her mouth was sensitive from the previous day.  I kept a soft hand, but was persistent with my requests. She eventually settled down when she  realized that I was not constantly messing with her mouth asking her to move her shoulders over, and riding with light contact.   When she did calm down, I got the most amazing canter – soft, fluid, energetic.

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