Beatrice Boucher - Training for FEI Juniors
On her to way to Kentucky for the FEI Juniors, Beatrice Boucher stopped in to train with Dave for three weeks. Beatrice and her horse, Fiori, are coached by her mother at home in Quebec.
With the 18 hour trip into the heat of Kentucky ahead, conditioning was a top priority. Fiori would need endurance to travel and to compete. They also worked on further developing collection and self carriage. As Fiori's strength improved, he was able to carry himself in relative collection, when the neck and poll are up relative to the lowering of the hind legs. This is as opposed to absolute collection, where the poll and neck are up without the back and hindquarters engaged. Under Dave's tutelage, Betrice encouraged relaxation in Fiori's back and narrowed the stance of his hind legs. They rode shoulder fore and in position, a combination of shoulder fore and slight travers, in order to bring his inside hind leg further under his center of gravity. This enabled Fiori to lower and engage his hindquarters properly. Fiori's back muscles developed to the point of needing a new saddle!
Beatrice felt her biggest change with Dave was learning to ride aids in combination. It is in combination that the aids create a recycling circle of energy, and the horse can overcome his natural inertia to self-power through the movements. This breakthrough helped Fiori develop "Durchlässigkeit," commonly translated as throughness, or more literally, letting the aids through in combination.
In one of Beatrice's last training sessions, they worked on allowing the pendulum in Fiori's neck to swing all the way through his barrel, thus allowing for full movement in his shoulders and hips. In order to collect the walk, rather than using the reins which can block the neck, Dave instructed her to use her legs as though she were walking backwards on the ground; this achieved a movement in her seat that told Fiori to collect without any locking or tension.