After a reasonable successful lesson [On Task], my homework was to ponder body control through the transitions. Rider body not horse body. Getting control of the former is the only way to get control of the latter.
Not only am I used to taking breaks during a ride, I tend to take mini-breaks between each gait. ‘Okay, stop cantering. Whew, that was a lot of work. Time to get reorganized. Okay, let’s trot.’ All of this takes less than a second, but that is long enough for the horse to collapse into a heap. Instead of maintaining energy and momentum from gait to gait, I find myself reinventing the wheel each time.
Consider cross-country versus show jumping. In the arena, the rider is always approaching a fence. Landing from one jump leads immediately into preparing for the next. The horse is always in a canter suitable for jumping. OTOH, a horse can’t maintain that type of canter for an entire cross-country course. Gallop between fences, set-up, jump, back to gallop. This is why event horses need go-forward and come-back buttons reliably installed. And yes, I ride jumpers exactly this way. ‘Gee, that was a big fence. Aren’t we a slick pair. Huh? What? Another jump? Already?’
I think the issue is going to turn out to be mental rather than physical. After this many years in saddles, I have reasonably good proprioception. My body goes basically where I tell it to. Now I just have to tell it the right things. A much harder task.
Gratuitous Cat Picture