Bridget and I had our first lesson at the new barn this morning. This coach's name is S, just like my coach at home, and just like the two prior to that from the blogs Alberta beginnings. Oh, and my best horse riding friend is an S as well. To keep things slightly clearer for everyone, I'm going to call this one Eventer Coach, or EC (even though she rides dressage and teaches hunter/jumper her main focus is eventing)
Overall first impressions were ok. I feel like she's a good mix for me of being positive but also very assertive. Honestly, I'm going to have a bit of trouble dealing with the more assertive stuff, being an independent, stubborn sort myself, but it will be good for me to be pushed and have things laid out bluntly with little room for excuses. It was probably the most useful lesson I've ridden in in years, so my personal feelings about some of the things said can shut up and go away already ;)
We just had a flat lesson to get acquainted with the arena and EC, so no jumping yet. Please excuse the notes format, wanted to spare you a novel yet retain the key points :)
Take home points:
- posting diagonals, leads not "right" or "wrong". Many reasons why you would ask for/use either...depends on what hind leg you are looking to influence.
- Bridget is excellent in the contact. Stop babying her, nitpicking. Raise hands and keep them steady, softer elbows.
- On that note, Bridget is well started in general. Sit up and ride and keep my expectations high. Don't ride for safety/effectiveness anymore, start asking and riding more correctly - don't "help" her so much.
- She has three excellent gaits. Moves like a horse rather than pony. Canter is really nice, just need to compress it. (this one made me so, so happy!)
- Right lead canter for homework, she's dropping her shoulder in the transition and I'm "giving up" too soon and letting it happen, often resulting in wrong lead.
- She is very balanced, not obviously favouring one side to the other. Whoever started her did a good job.
- Transitions for homework. Be more aware in the moment of dictating the amount of go/whoa I want rather than letting her get too slow/fast during the strides before and after.
- She is slightly behind the leg/inconsistent about forward but not too bad...should be better when she gains more fitness.
-Lose the foam half pad, saddle fits decently as is and should fit quite well when she has built her top line up more.
-Bridget rides as she looks. Nice in the bridle, relaxed, but wiggly, inconsistent. (EC got on for the last few minutes) Good thing though because means neither of us is compensating or leaning on the other and creating horse/rider specific issues.
-More dressage than eventing potential. Could be competive in dressage, will max out quickly eventing. (But good to event at low level for fun/cross training, particularly as I am so confident with her) I know this and am ok with it BTW - cobby ponies aren't you're typical upper level eventers lol, no crushed dreams here ;)
Personal take homes (not anything EC mentioned specifically, just me thinking here):
- I need to be fitter, as does pony.
- Need to not be so hard on myself, but also need to be more disciplined.
Reading the above, there is nothing too bad at all there, and lots of good - focus on good, don't get emotionally invested in "bad", but recognize weaknesses and set goals to improve.