…it’s just a shame I don’t!  For a while now I’ve been struggling with inside bend on the left rein and quite frankly I’ve been more or less ignoring it.

A little while ago (after a particularly bad schooling session where I tried to wrestle Abbey into left bend!) I decided enough was enough.  So Abbey’s been having regular treatments (with Lisa Bartley) and so have I (with Jess Shemmans).  I am also getting fitter (HIIT pilates and running) and we’ve started having lessons with a lady called Leonie Alldrick, who is an Equipilates Affiliated Instructor and Biomechanics Coach.

We’re both very tight throughout our left hand sides – the good news is that both therapists didn’t think that there was anything seriously wrong with either Abbey or I, and through massage and exercises we’re getting looser now.

I am gradually getting fitter and stronger (especially my legs and core, thanks in no small part to this ‘refresher’ which forms part of the HIITT pilates routine).

Leonie concentrated on how my body and position was affecting Abbey and had me opening my left rein and using my left leg. I also need to concentrate on opening my shoulders, particularly my right (not hunching/rolling it forward).

She had us doing loops and concentrating on getting the correct bends throughout.  We added in circles at the ‘peak’ of the circles, again concentrating on bend.  After a short while Abbey felt lovely – really supple on both reins and in a lovely consistent contact.

I’d like to start doing some Novice tests this year, so after that we moved on to developing a medium trot.  At this stage, she’s wanting Abbey to respond to my leg and understand that I am asking her to go forward off my leg aid.  Something Abbey picked up almost immediately.

Because Abbey drifts out (and in, depending on the rein – my weak left hand side, again!), she had us moving in from the track and back out while on a 20m(ish) circle to check that she was in my outside rein.

Abbey went better than she has in a ages – she was right on my aids, offering inside bend on the left leg without me feeling like I was asking and really pushing from behind.

Tonight I tried repeating some of the exercises at home and I have to say, I’m delighted with the results.  The combination of addressing my tightness, the tightness I have caused Abbey and some detailed  instruction has really paid off. (Though there is still plenty to work on!)