To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Great first lesson!

Of course, it's always a great lesson when your instructor compliments your horse, right? ;-)  In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that Julie likes ALL horses and compliments nearly every one – unless they do something really horrid. Lance really was a good boy – even though he was working hard in a new place on an oppressively muggy day.

With Julie's eyes on the ground I was able to confirm the frame and tempo to strive for. Lance has a naturally nice frame and a slower cadence than some, which I don't want to ruin with busy hands or by rushing his pace. His lovely walk (with a "Marilyn Monroe swing") was duly noted, his cute face exclaimed over repeatedly, and his calm, honest nature appreciated, by both Julie and her USDF "L" judge mother, who was watching.

Julie deemed the saddle I have on trial an acceptable fit, so I used it for our lesson. It was very comfortable for me and Julie said my position in it was fine; Lance moved well (best right lead canter to date, in fact) and did not have a lump on his spine at the tree's twist afterwards. Last night I had Rick look at the saddle on Lance, and he was even more positive about its fit. I rode in it again this morning, and called the owner to say I'm keeping it. Anyone want to buy my Black Country Eloquence?
Our "new" saddle, and one last look at Lance's long locks

Like my Black Country, this saddle has shoulder gussets,
and wool serge-covered panels, firmly flocked.

I've scheduled another lesson with Julie next Tuesday. Before then I plan to cut Lance's mane to "pulled" length. Yesterday I conferred with Julie, her mom and my friend Debbie on what to do with it in its partially rubbed state. They all thought that shortening it was preferable to leaving it or roaching it. I'll miss Lance's beautiful locks, but hopefully his mane will grow back.* Too bad I don't wear jewelry; there are some beautiful horsehair designs out there that can be made from your horse's mane or tail hair!

*I've ordered some Cheval Itch-B-Gone spray to try; I'll let you know if it works.


Briana said...

Yay well-fitting saddle!! And I bought some gorgeous horsehair barrettes a few years ago...don't know if that's more up your alley but something to think about! ;)

Mary Ann said...

I can't believe you won't spin his hair into your wool as a keepsake!

Michelle said...

Maybe I'll keep what I cut off in a safe place for some future idea or use. I don't wear anything in my short hair, and horsehair is much too prickly to mix with wool in yarn. I don't know how to braid horsehair, but if I find someone who does, I could have them make me a keychain or something from it!

Mary said...

Michelle, if you know any potters, they sometimes use horsehair in the firing process. My friend cathy has promised a special bowl when Woodrow crosses the rainbow bridge. (bittersweet, yes?)

I like the saddle you have found. Is it a little high in back? I'm glad you found a great dressage saddle. I had to adjust my balance in the flat Ortho Flex. Change is good.

Michelle said...

I've seen those pots, Mary; pretty, but expensive. Actually, after responding to Briana and Mary Ann, I did some online searching and found some examples I might just be able to pull off myself with my basic wire-wrapping skills and supplies!

The lowest part of the seat is in the middle, so it is balanced. The back is high to give it a deep seat, but it doesn't feel too deep or restrictive. It's a Mike Corcoran Marvel.

Alanna said...

Yah for a new saddle and a good lesson. :)

Theresa said...

Hooray for finally finding a saddle! And doesn't Lance look handsome in it. Kudos to him for being such a good boy!