After months of purposeful lunging, riding and in hand work, Esta’s balance and impulsion are looking great! A big key was the discovery of the surcingle and side reins for lunging. The side reigns attach to the bit from the surcingle and are designed to help the horse reach for contact with the bit. Using side reins builds impulsion more than lunging with just a bridle.
So with that in mind, we proceeded to adjust the length of the side reigns short enough for her to find that contact, but not so short that they held her head down. Ramener (bringing the nose towards vertical) is not something to be forced. Esta was stiffer going clockwise, so we worked her more going that way than counterclockwise. Every lesson she got better at reaching for bit and keeping a relaxed, steady rhythm. Now that her balance is looking good on the bigger circles, we can work her for short periods on smaller circles that increase her flexibility and bring her closer to collection.