Monday, November 6, 2017

Lessons & Rides in Review: November 4th 2017

I really miss using my riding journal and I thought maybe I should bring it into the 21st century and make it digital.  So I will add a little bit about each of my rides in order to keep myself accountable and keep track on my progress.

I will start with my clinic that was two weeks ago.  I want to keep myself completely anonymous so I won't mention who I did the clinic with, just that he is a Grand Prix Dressage Rider/Trainer.  So the first day of the two day clinic started out a bit rough.  I think I spent too much time in the warm up.  It was third time doing a clinic with this trainer and the times ended up running late so my warm up was much longer than necessary.  My mare was agitated and energetic.  My favorite thing about this trainer's methods is having us all warm up the same way: haunches in at the walk in both directions and then over bending and countering bending to get loose.

My horse has a trot that according to my trainer is a 10 (gotta add that in there ;)) but she was feeling pretty good so she was very forward and not picking her knees up enough for the clinician's liking.  So we slowed it down and got some better knee action.  When it came time to canter though this slower trot kind of pissed off the mare.  So she threw a massive buck and the sass just continued on.  The second day though we shortened the warm up to almost nothing and we literally just walked.  She was much more level headed and impressed the trainer.

On Monday I went to the barn for my usual lesson and found out my horse somehow managed to nick/scrape her leg.  It wasn't swollen when the barn worker found it and cleaned it but it proceeded to swell between then and when I got to the barn.  I was convinced she was lame as soon as I took her out of the stall but my trainer had me hop on anyway to see and to make sure she kept moving so the swelling would go down and she wouldn't get sore from not moving.  We kept it to walk/trot and worked on transitions.

I went to the barn on Tuesday to make sure she got worked a little.  The swelling was almost completely gone but I still kept it to walk/trot.  My trainer normally rides her on Wednesdays.  It was a weird day so she just checked on her and let her stay outside.  I went back on Thursday and did more light work with her.  So the entire week she had almost no work and our rides were a third of what they normally are and we did no cantering.  When I hopped on for my lesson on Saturday she was feeling like a ball of energy.  We had some of our best transitions ever and we got some really encouraging and helpful remarks from my trainer.

So Sunday starts the official start of the week and where this blog post was really supposed to start.  Sunday we had a horrible ride.  I got one and one of the young girls who was working grabbed the blower and started blowing one of the aisles that does not normally get blown.  Not only did it cause a sudden loud noise from an unexpected place the girl kept turning it on and off and then from half powered to full powered.  My horse was a nervous wreck.  She literally dodged the door to that aisle and she hasn't done something like that in forever.  It was a pretty powerful dodge too.

I was looking forward to Monday because it meant another lesson with my fabulous trainer.  I got on and there were less people in our little group lesson than normal and then one person hopped off early.  It was down to just me and two other girls.  Little Tangent: I've always been a DQ at heart.  I love jumping and eventing but dressage is really where my heart lies.  I love that in eventing I get to do both.  So my obsession with dressage means that when I ride my horse while I am not jumping we are always round unless taking a long reined walk.  When I was about four months into owning my horse we were having some issues and one of the trainers I was working with who was filling in for just a few months had a background in dressage.  She had hopped on my horse when she was being spooky and I was being a nervous wreck.  As soon as she got on my horse was round and I was like I don't care about cantering I just want to learn how to do that.  So we made it a goal for me to learn how to get her round and for my green bean horse to start learning how to use herself.  That was two years ago and we've been getting better and better ever since.  Not everyone at my barn has the same enthusiasm for dressage and riding their horse round.  So my entire lesson on Monday was about being round.  So while the other girls worked on that I really focused on my position and my god awful puppy dog hands.  We never got to cantering in that lesson.

So on Wednesday my trainer rode her and she was great.  A bit spooky but there was a lot going on at the barn so it was nothing out of the ordinary.

On Thursday we had one of the best rides ever in some aspects.  She was still a little ball of energy when it came to cantering but I think our warm up made it a super successful ride.  So I was riding around a lesson going on.  I hopped on as the lessons were changing over.  We had to walk for a while since there were so many horses in the ring so we started doing haunches in while we walked around.  Then we attempted to do a shoulder in but that is not really my strong suit.  After that we started leg yielding off and then back on to the rail. During the ride we dropped our stirrups for a while, did some leg yielding at the trot, and then we went to canter.  When I say I've never felt a more amazing canter, I mean it.  It was so uphill, smooth, rhythmical, light, and controlled I was in shock.  Our cantering has just been getting better and better.  I mean when I bought her she had no idea how to canter or what it meant when you asked for the canter.  The trainer who was teaching the lesson actually commented on how much the quality of the canter has improved and how well I am doing with my trainer.

My lesson on Saturday went as well as it could have.  We walked in both directions before picking up the trot and half way down the dressage ring she got crooked and was clearly ready to spook.  It took half of the lesson to coax her into that shadowy corner.  She was tense the entire lesson and started to curl up during the trot.  She felt like she was a ticking time bomb and was just anticipating everything.  We finally cantered and she was honestly way better than I expected.  We had some better downward transitions which is a huge issue for us so that was very satisfying.

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Lessons & Rides in Review: November 4th 2017

I really miss using my riding journal and I thought maybe I should bring it into the 21st century and make it digital.  So I will add a litt...