Monday 23 July 2012

Really great lessons

Now that my leaving is official, I almost don't want to go-especially with how much progress myself and the horses have made these past few months.
Today, I got up super early for lessons (OK, the getting up early on a Saturday won't be missed;) and rounded up the horses from their pasture. Being from the west coast I still am in awe of the huge pastures my horses get to hang out in here. The one they are in now would easily house my entire dream farm! I also love how excited they get to be turned out- I can see how much they enjoy it! Back home they get turnout- but it's basically from a small dirt pen to a big dirt pen, which might have grass part of the year if I carefully manage it. Its not half as fun for them.

Oh yeah...lessons! I brought them both in at once to save time and rode Ginger first. Ginger had about 4 days off this week. She was VERY energetic. "Scared" of the dressage letters on the fence, the spots the sun was making on the ground, and of course her own poop. What is really nice though is that she has grown up so much. After she was put to work she settled right down and we had a really good ride. Before, she would have probably lost her marbles for the majority of the ride. Now, she works right out of it and gets to work. With her, we worked today on all the usual suspects - straightness, rhythm, and of course loosening up over her topline. Plus a little lengthening at the trot. With me, again the usual suspects, sit back and drive with my seat, and sit up straight. Keep her forward, don't let her fall behind my leg, especially if she wants to be spooky! I had to laugh because we were discussing the last point, and I said "it's really hard because if she's spooky part of me always wants to hunch forward and hang on!" As I demonstrated this (at a very sedate walk) as a joke, poor Gingers head came up and she had a mini freak out thinking something had scared me. So, point driven home. T, please ride your pony confidently at all times. Or at least pretend to.
After Ginger, it was Lainey's turn. Can I be honest and say that although Lainey is a lovely, lovely horse, riding her in a dressage lesson after Ginger feels like a lot of hard work! Poor Lainey is built very level and has that little TB bum. All those things Ginger finds so effortless, Lainey finds hard. And Lainey is lazy too and tries to cheat :) So it's a lot of work for her and her rider to keep her working properly. She loves to please, so I have to mix it up with things she is good at, like jumps or trails, to keep her feeling positive. Don't get me wrong, she goes very nicely and looks pretty respectable, it's just much harder for her. On the other hand, she's such fun on the trail. She can go all day and has a super long and efficient stride. Ginger is much more up and down, we don't get anywhere fast but we sure look pretty getting there! Obviously she is not as naturally talented as a well bred pure dressage horse, but I am thrilled with just how "all purpose" she's turning out to be. More than adequate for my own lack of talents :) It'll be fun to take them both on some outings this winter, with them both having such different strengths and weaknesses.

Part of their turnout:

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