Have I missed something? I call in another pair of expert eyes. A sports veterinarian confirms my suspicions. Decadance is developing much more muscling on his left hind than his right. He is not using himself equally. Diagnostics cannot find anything structurally or functionally preventing freedom and balance of movement. The current reluctance to work is a result of muscle soreness on the left, a result of compensating for weakness on the right. He is protecting himself; he won't, because he believes he can't. I have learned to listen to Decadance.
Enter Riding Relevance, riding specifically targeted to address the matter at hand. Think rehabilitation, physical therapy, and personal training, rolled into one and masquerading as the gymnastic patterns of dressage. This is what I love to do, what inspires me, what has motivated me with Decadance.
When is a circle not just a circle? When it is a specifically targeted exercise to encourage the weight bearing of the inside hind leg, or the pushing power of the outside hind, if executed accurately and precisely. Correctly ridden, the circle demonstrates bend and balance; as the circle decreases in diameter, the demands increase in difficulty. I've been keeping the circles fairly large with Decadance, it is now time to introduce some smaller circles at the walk.
Transitions from walk to trot to walk and from trot to halt will be important to develop more engagement if ridden correctly balanced. Resistance to bend or falling in or out on loops and serpentines will indicate areas to address. Leg yielding will help encourage suppleness. All of these things have been in our repertoire; I need to bring a new awareness and focus to their execution, thinking specifically of the right hind and the muscles I am developing.
Use of caveletti in ground work and under saddle will be crucial to conditioning in this process. I have to shift the load off the stronger hind leg and strengthen the weaker. Otherwise, Decadance will continue his imbalance; we want and need more equality of movement.
You get so much more out of a training session if you think about the goals you are trying to achieve. I am thoughtfully and mindfully putting together a plan for the new year with Decadance, to keep us on point, in balance, and moving forward. I have made progress; I have confirmation of that in his body and his mind. He trusts me enough to tell me it is time to re-evaluate. I trust him enough to try. All I ask is he tries his best today. Festina Lente, hurry slowly....I'm reminded things take time.
Happy New Year!