Friday 4 September 2015

Lesson Notes

First off, thanks for the fantastic responses to my last post. Sometimes I'm reluctant to post about the relatively unimportant and not so positive stuff because I don't want to be the Debbie Downer of the blog world, but every time I put some of my worries out there you are all nothing but supportive and helpful! I truly appreciate it :)

Do you think she likes what she sees? :)
I voiced all of my problems and concerns to poor EC this week, and since I was the only person to show for lessons, I got almost a mini clinic of helpful advice and tips. Since then I've had a couple of much happier rides. Rather than post pages and pages of ride recaps, here's the helpful notes I wrote down after my lesson:

 Notes from EC with me riding:


-Bridget has a good natural walk. I need to focus on maintaining straightness and not blocking her.

-Straightness - my hands stay even, soft contact. If she wiggles or comes above the bit, answer is always to kick her forward. Don't be tempted to use hands to straighten her!

- Training scale: we have rhythm, we have suppleness, relaxation. We can lack consistent impulsion, then straightness and connection suffer.


- As above, good natural movement. As a rider I need to work on maintaining the impulsion and straightness.

- Don't think of her body following her head, her body will follow where her shoulders are. Sit in the center, ride the shoulders and line heads up (both of us) straight ahead of shoulders.

- Bridget knows what I want, she is good in the bridle. Sit up and ride her off my seat and leg but don't nag. Hands stay still and quiet, enough with the baby pony direct rein aids already!


- Yay! Every time you set her up correctly she gets her right lead. Huge progress.

-Transitions good for where we are at, but don't drop her. Start to expect balanced transition while keeping on the bit.

-Ask for her to round herself up and come "through". She understands in walk and trot, so now to build up in the canter. OK that she doesn't fully understand she can do it yet, it will come.

-(practicing dressage test) Let her be on a larger circle if you need to, but make it balanced!

-As a rider, focus on being very still and centered...she is starting to be sensitive enough I need to be careful not to send mixed signals and confuse her.
"Please don't confuse me any more!"

Notes with EC riding:

- Bridget feels way more straight, way more forward than last time. T has been working hard!

- Right side used to be weaker, now it is left. It's not that left had got worse, just that right has got so much better.

- Bridget is bulging through outside shoulder on circle. Correction is counter intuitive and like riding motorbike...block with outside rein and leg. Don't try to help to turn harder with inside aids, you'll only tip over :)

-Again with the outside shoulder. Ride as with trot. If she ignores/breaks gait/evades immediately spiral in -even in the trot if necessary. Really make her move her shoulders and exaggerate it. Make it happen.

-Saddle issues, sort of. When Bridget bulges through shoulder saddle is pushed to outside. Since canter not a lateral gait, harder for rider to correct saddle balance and you end up tipped to outside also, making harder for Bridget to stay straight. Saddle fits well enough, but pony is round and the popping the shoulder issue is very much throwing everything crooked, particularly in canter. As rider, be aware and try to focus on staying centered and straight so as to not make problem worse. Saddle fitter will come look and see if some adjustments to flocking may help.

-Lunge her at canter. See if she is better without rider/saddle. If yes, build up fitness and balance that way. If no, continue riding more canter circles and help her figure her body out that way.

General notes:

All the recent problems showed themselves, but lesson day is a good day for that to happen! I rode to start and EC got on mid ride as well. I found that extremely helpful since she hasn't ridden B since we first arrived and had a ton of helpful feedback. Also, she made Bridget look fancy and I was inspired. When I said that out loud, she said "Bridget IS fancy!" which obviously made my day :) Bridget then snapped me out of my daydreams of pony dressage by having a hissy fit about cantering with EC. Disappointing, but on the plus side secretly made me feel slightly better about myself since maybe the struggle is real for all of us. Of course she got a canter in short order, and for a few strides here and there it was that nice uphill one I've seen in the field. When did THAT start happening with a rider?!! And please will you teach me how to get it?? When I got back on, magical things happened and pony felt so reminiscent of Ginger on a good day I could barely contain my excitement. 

I miss G and his willingness to take riding pics...I have so many pics of Bridget in the wash rack lately
Rather than the trainer rides I was thinking of, we're going to move to twice weekly lessons. EC doesn't mind hopping on if I am really struggling with something, and I feel like with a private dressage lesson plus a group jumping lesson every week we will be ok. EC seems to have faith in us,


  1. I'm glad to hear that you've had some happier rides! :) Lots of good homework too.

  2. Glad you had a positive lesson! Bridget is so cute!

  3. So happy that you had a good lesson! This is so close to what I'm working on right now :-)

  4. I love all the pics of Midge in the wash rack haha. Seriously tho these are all awesome notes. Somehow hearing someone else reaffirm that YES the horse IS talented and CAN do it really helps inspire and motivate me too. Seems like EC is a Bridget believer and has lots of good ideas!!

  5. Trainer support is awesome! Glad to hear you had a good time. Makes everthing seem a bit more possible.

  6. Trainer support is awesome! Glad to hear you had a good time. Makes everthing seem a bit more possible.

  7. Trainer support is awesome! Glad to hear you had a good time. Makes everthing seem a bit more possible.