You guys ever have the experience while riding, where you suddenly have this epiphany about something that feels totally earth-shattering and then you say it out loud and you’re like. Oh. Duh.
That happened to me recently.
Some background. Duke had kissing spine surgery a little over a year ago. We like to baby his back a little bit and we do this by giving him extra care (like a liniment soak or cold hose after XC, for example). This carries into riding as well. We work consistently on getting a nice long, low, stretch through his back especially in warming up.
Now. Duke likes going around with a hollow back and inverted shape, which can be chalked up to years of discomfort and muscle memory. Plus he thinks going properly is hard. So he sometimes does this thing that we call “dinosaur neck” where he goes in a bit of a false frame and closes up his throat latch.
I was having some trouble distinguishing dinosaur neck vs. truly stretching down into the contact. Which brings us to the idiot epiphany.
When he isn’t going properly, the reins are light, almost to the point of having a slight loop in them. When he’s stretching into the contact, I feel contact through the reins.
Earth shattering, I know.
It’s hard to show because a) I don’t have a ton of photos on the flat on Duke and b) it’s sort of hard to see. The second photo is much better, but the angle is tougher to see. His throat latch is more open and he’s pushing through into the contact.