This is my dressage training journal, my ode to the horse at its finest, and my virtual bulletin board, where I can post reminders to myself on the purpose and practice of correct riding.
I'm just getting my horse Special Majesty (Russell) and myself back into a regular routine after a spring show (one class at Third Level), subsequent symptoms of discomfort on my horse's part, and several months of minimal schooling and some trail riding. It's been a long time since I've gotten regular instruction even though the instructor I use is one of the best; being a homeschooling mom of a young son really interferes with my hobbies - ha!
Today was our third schooling session in a week - WOOHOO! It feels good to be back in the saddle again. Like old ballroom dancing partners, we know the moves, but our bodies are a little out of shape for the task and we can easily lose the beautiful lines we are going for on the dance floor.
I'm working on keeping Russell straight (imagine riding a dolphin and always keeping that dorsal fin straight up in front of you) so that he can use both hind legs effectively to go forward. At the same time I am encouraging him to keep a soft contact from the bit through the poll and down the neck to the shoulders, so he doesn't get tight in his back. Ideally we do this equally well going both directions, but that rarely happens. In our first canter work this evening, he felt discombobulated going to the right, but after some more work at the trot, his right lead canter got much better. I did just a little sitting trot work tonight and it felt very good, but I won't overdue it before his back and belly muscles have more time to strengthen for the work. I'm looking forward to my belly muscles regaining some strength and tone, too - along with my thighs and butt. When I was riding a lot more, I used to joke that I could crack walnuts between my thighs; right now I don't know if I could squish a green tomato!