Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, January 21, 2008 06:12 PM
Esteban is an Andalusian stallion too. He has amazing coat, dark bay with golden shine.
Even during winter months his coat shines. Esteban is one of the most considered and gentle breeding stallions I have ever met.
You can see it in his eyes and expression on his face. He is very easy to ride, he is supple and balanced.
Frances students ride him in the lessons sometimes.
During this visit I have received very little coaching from Frances when I rode Esteban. Frances was either
teaching or riding when I worked him. So I used Esteban to test all my skills old and new and see what he has to say about it.
Esteban's walk is very fluid and has a lot of movement in it. It is not easy to find balance between relaxation and tonus.
A rider can fall into two different traps when riding Esteban's walk. Either relax too much and start moving much more then necessary,
or stiffen and hold blocking the movement. Esteban is very supple, working him on shoulder-ins, travers, half-passes in the walk
was a lot of fun. Walk gives a rider time and easiness of steady balance to really feel correct lateral movements. I had to balance
my weight properly on my seatbones, use my inside knee to ask for the bend and have a good contact
on my outside rein.
Esteban's trot is very easy to sit. However, I still had to work on my seat and ride him correctly.
The better I became with my balance and control as days passed the better I could ride him. At first I had trouble creating
slow swinging trot, he didn't really want to stretch into the bridle and I felt that I'm working too hard to get him there.
Something wasn't right. After riding Teo and Fino and working on my balance and ability to ride the wave
things started to come together on Esteban. He was giving me supple swinging trot. Keeping my upper body correctly
and arms relaxed allowed him to stretch into the bridle with confidence. Even our medium trot has got much better.
I did it in rising trot, because his back is not ready to do it in sitting. Still, all the factors of a good balance had to work:
tempo control using my thighs, good impulsion, my shoulders preventing the horse to fall on the forehand, body in good tonus to
keep it's own balance and to let half-halts to work through.
With canter I had an interesting development on Esteban. On the first day Esteban would brake into trot especially in
the right canter. This was before I have worked with Teo on letting my hips through. Feeling that I might be responsible
for that I didn't press the issue. Next time I rode him I knew about my hips and I let them go up and through. Canter was light,
easy to ride and no brakes into trot, yes! We have worked on canter-walk-canter transitions, zigzagging on short diagonals
through the whole arena. Downward transitions were OK but not great. When I started keeping my upper body
balanced and shoulders back I was able to produce more uphill canter and better transitions.
Frances does quadrille on Friday nights. Everyone welcome to ride in it. I was able to participate
in one. We had 10 riders on horses of all caliber, gender, and level of training. I rode Esteban. What a fun night it was!
Horses were so good and Esteban was simply super: very friendly and tolerant to other horses and very eager to participate.