Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Fun Lesson

I know I keep saying I'm going to take all the jumping lessons, but my resolve is weakening with every fantastic dressage lesson we have. It's not that the jump lessons aren't good, it's just we both find dressage a bit easier, I think.

Last night, we started with trot/halt/trot transitions. Pretty simple concept, Midge just needs to come back and go forward when asked, also stay straight and keep her hind end under her. This particular exercise is krytonite for her, and a great way to check in and see what sort of evasion is the go to for the day. Last night. B was NOT impressed about not being able to suck back, wiggle,  plow through my aids, or just generally not being allowed to llama. So basically, she just couldn't horse at all. Yay :) On the plus side, after 2 years of these shenanigans in various forms, I feel like I have a ton of tools in the toolbox and can be patient and ride the horse I want until B decides that she can be that horse and meet me half way.

As promised, more subpar pics that have nothing to do with today's content

Sure enough, in about 15min or so, the good Midge appeared. Once the transitions became light and reliable, we added in some more work on our walk pirouettes. Right now, we just do half turns usually, essentially turning until just before I feel like I'll lose the bend, then we walk out and repeat.  This worked well with the trot/halt/trot exercise because it got her thinking straighter through her shoulders and also using that pesky inside hind to step up under a bit more. So fun - I know it's been years in the making, but seriously, it's still a novelty to me that Midge can and will move all those body parts where we ask, when we ask.

Building on that, we moved up to canter/walk/canter transitions. Since B isn't legit strong or experienced enough to do these correctly if we ask straight up, what we do is spiral the canter in until it's as tiny as I can make it, then pop down into a collected walk. So, essentially using the exercise to keep her balanced enough to make the nice walk transition possible.  Then, spiral back out and canter, using as few collected walk steps as possible...the walk is there to rebalance her and give us the good transition/good canter we need.
One of the few pics where I'm not headless, at least

I'm excited, because we actually pulled this off a few times in each direction and it felt easy! We finished with some 20m canter circles playing with shoulder and haunches in. This, of course, was harder for us both, but still, the pony is starting to feel pretty maneuverable in canter. We've made huge progress in building a canter on my little trotting cart pony, and there are whole minutes now of a big, bouncy, dressage worthy canter. While I have to say if I could go back in time I'd probably save myself a ton of work and start with a horse that can canter, I'm lucky in that B actually had a decent canter hiding in there...she just needed to learn to use it and I needed to learn how to teach her.

So.much.fun.
Another flying potato pony picture. I look like perhaps I didn't quite have faith the potato would leave the ground ;)

9 comments:

  1. i love that maneuverable feeling in canter! right now it's still kinda a miracle if we canter at all on something that even approximates a 20m circle, but reading stuff like this makes me excited for what will hopefully (eventually!) come next!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will come! A year and a half ago we were literally bouncing off the arena walls at every attempt to make a circle:)

      Delete
  2. You know I went through that same realization. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I've been thinking about you two. It's not that they can't jump or aren't fun XC...it's just the dressage comes so much more easily, I think.

      Delete
  3. Dressage lessons are like potato chips- you just want more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a puzzle I can't stop trying to figure out. Also, potato chips are a very apt analogy in my case. I think I might love dressage and potato chips equally ;)

      Delete
  4. I love the spiral in at the canter exercise to get a good walk transition. Sounds like you guys are on the right track!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so exciting when the pieces start to fit together and suddenly we can do actual things.

      Delete
  5. I stopped jumping in the first place because I lost my nerve but now that I've recovered some of that I sol just have to say that it doesn't interest me in the same way anymore. I just LOVE dressaging!

    ReplyDelete