She had me think about the size of the strides, making them bigger and stronger, and then stronger in the smaller steps. My horse is 17.2 and a huge mover. Getting him to move

in small steps has been a challenge. It’s successful when my timing is correct. He’s so willing. Charlotte: Down the next long side, a lovely canter. Now push that hip in for the haunches- in [travers]. Keep the bend. It’s a little low and a bit flat. [She clucks.] I love travers.

Travers is an exer- cise that I do a lot of, because the horse has to bend through his neck and bend through his body. The outside leg is coming back and Lehua is wrapping him around her inside leg. He’s bend- ing like a C shape. She is asking him to bend around her inside leg. You can make your horse as supple as possible by using the travers. Now collect him, haunches-in, and now forward. And back again.

Haunches-in on

Top to Bottom: (1) Lehua Custer rides shoulder-fore on F.J.Ramzes. (2) Lehua enjoys adjusting the size of Ramzes’ stride at the trot. (3) A lovely half pass demonstrated, with Lehua asking for the bend.

34 September/October 2018

the circle—make sure that your weight goes in the same direction of the horse. To me he looks more supple to the left than to the right. Now we go to the shoulder-fore on the circle. Make the horse upright through the body. It’s another good exer- cise again to keep the horse supple. Now spiral in. Keep an active canter, haunches-in, now start to collect him.

“You can make your horse as supple as possible by using the travers.”

Lehua reflects: Now I ride using the haunches-in and

shoulder-in on the circle at the canter, to help in pirouettes. That helps with the precision, the exact size of circle before I go into pirouette. That precision helps you set up for the next movements. The shoulder-fore, haunches-in, shoulder-fore, half

pass—it’s something I’m still figuring out, how it should feel and how it should look. I need to understand how it works. Mostly it’s making sure I’m 100 percent. It’s hard. Make sure you’re not falling off track. It can take away the purpose of the pattern.

Haunches-in at the canter was harder for me. In the

months before, I felt he was weaker on the left lead canter and left lead pirouette. In the months since the clinic, I found the left to be easier. I found where to put my body. I’ve been working with a physiotherapist and personal trainer to help me align my body. It became apparent to me where we wanted the most out of the horse. I spent these last few months working on myself, to make sure I am balanced on the horse for him. Charlotte: Trot shoulder-in eight-meter circle, then half

pass. Get into your movement. Good is a 7. Who wants a 7? Not me. I want 8s and 9s. Think of the half pass, and the shoulders. I don’t want

speed, I want more lift. It’s a little bit in and out. It’s either a little passage-y or a little flat. Keep the same trot rhythm. Now shoulder-in, push a bit sideways using your voice.

Circle, turn, shoulder-in, half pass. Come out of the circle into the half pass. Rising, take it off the horse’s back or he’ll get tight and stiff. Lehua reflects: In the eight-meter circle, I have to make

sure the horse is really even into the contact, so he moves ahead of the leg, accepting both reins equally. Shoulder-in on the eight-meter circle into half pass is really difficult.

FINAL THOUGHTS “Charlotte was so complimentary. She was great to work with. She was very strict and dry with her humor. I found her to be extremely kind and much more approachable than I anticipated. I felt comfortable once we got working,” Lehua says.

Charlotte praised F.J.Ramzes for his potential. “When you sit on him, you feel you have this lovely neck in front of you. His neck comes out of the wither very well. He has a lovely hind leg, a good engine. The hind leg is underneath you, and you can feel and see that the power is there.” “He offers so much,” Charlotte added. “You can see how

much scope this horse has. He has the ability to sit and to push.” For both these riders, working with Charlotte in a master

class offered the opportunity to push the boundaries, both for themselves and their horses. As a result, both of them have developed new skills or improved existing ones, exactly what they hoped for from this experience.

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