Symposium with Ellen Bontje. Part II.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, June 23, 2014 03:58 PM
This is the second part of the series of blogs on the AEF symposium with Ellen Bontje and Karen Ashbee. Please click here to read the first part. This blog is about Second and Third level work.
Second Level:
    Test 2, young rider:
  • Ellen was strongly against the seesawing actions of the hands!
  • Same work on suppling the neck as described in the previous blog. Ellen was stressing out "not to throw the horse away" after achieving correct flexion
  • Transitions trot-canter, waiting for the neck to give (to lower and stretch a bit) then ask for transition
  • Ride canter with outside leg a little bit
  • Do not throw the reins in medium gaits
  • Ellen helping with a whip from behind. Very short walk, halts with inside flexion, almost halts. Ellen touching to help the horse activate and engage haunches
  • Same in trot, transitions almost to walk, then 10 m circle, back to the wall again transition almost to walk. Ellen touching with the whip during transitions.
  • Shoulder-in to renvers in trot
  • Quick changes of bend by riding a serpentine across arena in walk, hands do minimum - asking with the seat and legs.
  • Walk-canter-walk transitions. To canter from outside leg, hands quiet, flexion stays. Transition to walk - inside rein stays on. The horse has to accept the rein and come through the back and neck
  • Take hand to the side to prevent the horse from bracing against the hand on the stiff side.
Third Level:
    Test 1, work on flying changes:
  • Keep the new outside rein on. Lateral aids (means aids on the same side hand and leg). If changing from left to right use left hand, left leg
  • Improve quality of the canter before asking for changes
  • Drive with outside leg
  • Outside hand down to control the shoulder
  • Spiral in in canter, slow down, inside rein leads, outside leg drives
  • Shoulder-fore to the change, keep tempo slow, ride up with half-halts - quick with new outside leg (got the change!)
Third Level:
    Test 2, young rider on a pony, the neck is thick and short, hard to supple:
  • Changes of flexion for thick neck, keep the neck long
  • Rider had issues with hand position, pulling down and to the sides. Ellen wanted the rider to have hands in front, elbows anchored, reins shorter
  • Move the neck sideways to supple it, do not pull back. The movement is slow and deliberate, over several strides
  • Give with the arm in medium trot, do not lean forward
  • To prevent the horse locking into outside rein give it occasionally, do not hang on to it
Third Level:
    Test 3, Andalusian with weak loins and rather flat canter:
  • Inside rein works better on stiffer side for lateral work
  • Feel the mouth on hollow side all the time (steady connection)
  • Ride canter in shoulder-fore position and use outside leg for driving, improves quality of canter
  • Canter exercise: shoulder-fore to medium
  • Extra flexion in spiral, keep shoulder fore, drive with outside leg
  • Travers on small circle in canter (Ellen's favorite exercise), great for improving the quality of canter
  • Keep legs in canter in clear positions, inside at the girth, outside behind the girth
  • Ride flying change with a small brake on, do not let him run
  • Working canter pirouettes - preparation for flying changes
  • Half-steps to flex and engage the haunches
  • Medium canter to halt
  • In canter quick transitions between shoulder-in and travers
  • Shoulder-fore before flying change, control the shoulders
Judging - Karen was after riders who allowed their horses to drop the poll down and come behind the vertical. Cadence becomes important, the gaits must be expressive but very regular. All lateral work must have expression to get better marks, simply going through the motion will not get more than 6.
Next blog will be about Forth Level and Prix St. George/Intermediate I.
Happy riding...
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