Jan21.jpgThe past couple lessons have gone great and I’m enjoying every minute of learning lots of new little techniques. I really like how Anky stops you and breaks everything down and makes sure that you understand what it is you’re doing. For example, Vitall, as I’ve mentioned before, gets very strong on the left. Every time I do a half pass, diagonal or pirouette he falls over his shoulder and creates a tough resistance in my hand and slows down. Anky has me thinking leg yield and not guarding him with my left rein or leg so that I’m teaching him that I am not there to babysit. If I take my left leg or rein away, he should still stay on the line that I have chosen. That’s been my practice with him, keeping him on the line I want without babysitting.

Another technique is taking my hands a little bit lower and back, towards my body. In a way, I’m holding (not hanging) with light pressure and a balanced contact until he gives. When he gives, I push him forward but if he goes too forward I bring him back slightly but always renewing the energy and keeping the balance between the aids, little half halts checking in. As I mentioned before, it’s all transitions and balance. These little things have improved Vitall’s trot so that he has much more shwung and lift in front. Since I keep renewing the energy, it has nowhere else to go but up and out. You end up with this power underneath you that feels incredible.

Over the last few days Patrick Kittle and a few of the other younger Grand Prix riders have come in to train for Jumping Amsterdam this weekend, which Anky is also competing in. I am hoping to go there tomorrow (Friday) to watch in the morning. I will be sure to take lots of pictures of my adventure as I am taking the train because driving with the traffic will take way, way too long. As it is I’ll have to catch the train at 7am.  I’m going to watch with the Swiss girl and her mom so it should be a nice morning. Afterwards I will come back to the hotel, grab Oslo and go and ride in the evening.

The weather was great yesterday and not so bad today and now it has gotten a little bit warmer. We have been able to open the stall windows so the horses can look outside as Vitall is doing in the picture. He loves to look out. They say the weather is supposed to get cold again… Sadly it depends on the winds coming from Russia which means it could stay at -1 or go down to -15! I’m praying for just -1…

Yesterday evening I also had my first session with my sport psychologist Susan Thompson. It went really well and brought a lot of things to light. I tend to be a bit anxious in everyday life and sometimes while competing so I’m hoping that my work with her will help me learn how to not to have panic attacks. I’m also learning how to talk about everyday pressures of performing because, no matter who you are, everyone deals with pressures of every day life. I will keep everyone posted on my progress with Susan.

Off to go take Vitall out for his afternoon jaunt and tuck him in for the evening!