In January/February, I had the pleasure of riding with Linda Parelli for five weeks. One of the many highlights of my time with her was getting to take a lesson on her beautiful Oldenburg, Hot Jazz. Annie and Stetson made huge changes while I was there in learning to use their whole bodies and drive with the hindquarters. But Linda wanted me to feel the next step in developing POWER in my horses.
Linda had been riding Hot Jazz and had a wonderful session on him, getting him powered up but connected. When I mounted, we walked a circle around Linda, then she asked us to trot. Jazzy is VERY sensitive. It was a thrill to feel him step right into his big trot. It kept getting bigger and bigger as we circled. I took a little on the reins and it got MUCH bigger in a hurry. Linda asked me to rate him back a little. I must have had a lot of energy in my butt, because he kept getting faster and faster. Linda told me as we were racing around that taking on the reins means POWER UP MORE to Jazzy. I thought at one point he was going to levitate! Linda said Jazzy ran away with the last student she put on him!
As we circled, I began to experiment with softening different parts of my body — my legs, my arms, my back, etc. A slight release on the reins and breathing out got a big response from Jazzy. He started to develop more relaxation in his trot. Finally, we began to feel more in sync. The trot was still big, but more rhythmic. The more I relaxed, the more he relaxed, but never lost his drive. I was able to appreciate what an incredible job Linda has done in training Jazzy. It was like driving a Ferrari. He is incredibly willing and instantly responsive to the tiniest whisper of a request.