In the w/t transition, my hands get just a split-second behind and Taran doesn't step right up into it - because I'm blocking the energy in front (duh) and he just can't do it. The same thing happens in the upward canter transitions, only it's worse because I also tend to lean WAAAAY back. I guess I think I'm sitting up and helping to get the weight off his shoulders? So now my body is hugely behind the motion and well, again, I'm blocking the energy.
Taran's tail expresses displeasure at my leaning in the t/c transition.
I also sit behind the motion in canter and in the medium trot. To me, it feels like I'm sitting straight, but one look at a still shot and it's pretty obvious how far I'm behind. I wish we had mirrors so I could check myself, because it's really hard to know when you're off if you feel like you're correct! I think I'm compensating by leaning, instead of using my core to stay with the motion.
Leaning obviously makes the medium trot better.
In the downwards transitions, I look down, roll my shoulders forward, and lean back. In my head, the leaning back is weighting his haunches so he'll sit more in the transition, but the looking down and rolling my shoulders just makes me brace against him and dumps him on the forehand. Oh, and I take my leg off too, because everyone knows you don't need any leg in a downward transition (haha). This has led to some spectacularly awful downward transitions with his haunches trailing in the next county, but hey, he's doing exactly what I asked!
You can also roll your shoulders and look down at any time - no need to wait for a transition!
So. I'm on a mission to do a better job of staying with Taran's motion. To help, I've come up with a mini-checklist for myself that I've got playing in my head as I prepare for transitions:
- Shoulders back, but bring the upper body forward so that I feel like I'm leaning just a smidge (this actually makes me sit up on the vertical).
- Engage the core - think of pulling my pubic bone up toward my chin with my core (that's the image that works for me, ymmv).
- Elbows relaxed and following but NOT rounding the shoulders (this is haaaaard).
Hopefully with some vigilance on my part I'll get better, but man, it's HARD to retrain your body to get rid of those bad habits. Fortunately, when I'm right, Taran goes better, so it's good positive reinforcement!
What are you working on right now?
P.S. For those of you who played the "Guess how much Brego's shoes cost" game on Friday, Alli was correct with $600. My bank account is still whimpering.