Last week I took another dressage lesson. I've been sort of fighting the recap on it for no other reason than I'm afraid it's boring. But it's my corner of the internet, so push on I will.
I finally nailed my warm up by not trotting at all and instead just ambling boppily around the property until Tracey showed up to teach me. Kat at this level is happy to go to work right away seeing as "going to work" is essentially the same as "warming up" (trotting around in circles on the bit lol)
We worked a bit on my sitting trot and there are two big takeaways.
1) Kat is a bit afraid of me sitting all the way down on her, so we've been assigned a few strides of sitting trot here and there. But a key is that I can't go back to posting trot the moment she stiffens against me unless I genuinely lost my balance and she's 'right' to brace. If I pop off the saddle every time she wants me to then essentially I'm being trained by my mare.
2) I need to be carrying about 40% of my weight through my thighs and carrying my frontline forward with the horse. It felt to me like I was leaning way too far forward, but the photo below is after I got better at it and I definitely don't appear that far forward.
I also learned that I should work at the sitting trot exclusively on circles in order to help her give me a place to sit, and that Kat responds better to me if I sit the trot right out of the walk.
|DAMN THAT RIGHT LEG IS STILL BRACEY GO BACK UNDER THE BODY|
We played with the leg yields. Essentially we go sideways but not forward enough, and I think I had a flashback of my previous dressage trainer chasing me with a whip and screaming at me about it so.... we'll take that one to heart and accept a lot less sideways in order to maintain forward.
We've been working on the leg yields in everyone's favorite spiral-in, spiral-out exercise. We added sitting trot. It was harder for me that way because I had to think too much.
|hahahaha it's not better at the canter not better at all|
We began to play with lengthenings but then decided we were going to just "let her out across the ground a bit" because the moment I heard the word "lengthen" I basically just chased her everywhere and she braced over her topline and ran away from me. Whoops.
|Oh hey turns out when you don't hold so much they canter better|
The coup d'etat continues to be the massive changes Tracey can help me to make in Kat's canter. We worked a LOT on bending, especially to the left (because my left leg is a sardine). It was a nebulous feel and I'm not 100% sure I got it but that's why we keep taking lessons.
Major canter takeaways:
- I need to get fitter, especially in my core
- When I give the outside rein a bit to encourage bend, I should probably not just throw it at the horse and instead soften my shoulder/bicep so that the FEEL changes rather than the length of rein
- It's not a big deal if the canter is huge as long as they remain relaxed as tension will ruin any shortening and/or lead to a rushed and choppy canter
- Don't forget to ride an accurate circle at the canter because the gymnastic element of the circle helps the horse
I was just so proud of Tango for unloading and going right to work without any fuss or spookiness. AND I was proud of the rider for not losing his mind despite how nervous he was. He learned a ton and it was wonderful.