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

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Exceeding expectations

Since entering the April 16 show, I've been trying to schedule a lesson with Suzan. I always gain tons from her expertise, but knew that her instruction would greatly enhance our chances for success at the show. Please note that by 'success,' I mean being able to do our two Training Level tests without going off course and staying in the correct gaits while looking like we kinda-sorta belong in a dressage court – ha!

It's been a greater challenge than usual to schedule a lesson. Suzan got some unexpected news which has put even more on her normally-loaded plate. So when she texted me last Tuesday that she could squeeze me in at 8:30 Wednesday morning, I jumped at the chance in spite of the early hour (it got moved to a bit later). We were blessed with beautiful weather, as we have been for all of this winter's lessons. Stella met her first miniature horse on the way to the outdoor arena:

I told Suzan I'd entered a show, so she put us to work. Mind you, the groundwork has been laid; Suzan would never cut corners in training. But she does know when to increase the challenge and raise the bar, and that's what we experienced Wednesday. It was pretty exciting to feel, and to see the images Suzan captured of us!
Suzan called this Stella's 'park horse trot'

— notes to self —

At the trot: shorten reins, keep inside bend, both legs on for impulsion. Do a 10m circle if she's tense or braced, but don't let her spin; bring shoulders around. Same at the canter, which Stella offered when really forward and connected at the trot, and then fell out of when really forward and connected at the canter – too much work! (It was the first time we worked on canter in a lesson.)

Fussiness is a hissy fit over having to work; just wait it out with more inside bend, both legs on; do a small circle.

If she gets jiggy at the walk, trot. If she breaks to canter, work on canter.

Don't throw away the contact; "push the shopping cart" only as she seeks contact.

Continue working on the buckle a LOT. Do NOT let her rush at the walk, though, or 'pacey' gets reinforced.
— — —

The blue riding tights I wore in the lesson were part of a big lot I purchased recently. The same acquaintance from whom I bought the 'Princess Bride' bridle and saddle pad posted on Facebook that she had riding pants and tops for sale. Most everything was my size and very reasonable, so . . . .

I may not need to buy any more riding clothes for the rest of my life!

We have another lesson scheduled for this coming Wednesday, but the weather hasn't allowed for any schooling since our last lesson. Crossing fingers and toes that that changes!


A :-) said...

New clothes are new clothes. Way to go!! And mostly all blue - perfect! I remain excited for you as you approach the show. I just know you guys are going to do well :-)

Michelle said...

Thanks for being excited with me, A!