Friday 4 March 2016

Lesson Recap - Reevaluating Things

Will the good or evil pony show up for our lesson?

Monday night's lesson was a no go; I was simply too tired after the weekend and suspected Midge might be glad of a day off too. We rescheduled, opting for a quick hack on Tuesday, followed by a lesson on Wednesday.

Although our test comments over the weekend were generally good, there were of course some things consistently mentioned for us me to work on.  Obviously, the pony was looky, I was nervous, and there were comments re: getting Bridget rounder and softer through the back. Those I accept, but aren't something I'm overly concerned with as we have lovely work at home and I think it's just a matter of us getting confidence via more show miles. The following two points are the ones I'd really like to work hard on improving this season:

- Stop nagging the poor pony. (No, the comments didn't actually say that, but reading between the lines re: pony having great forward energy and rider needing to just sit and use seat and core more to contain it, I think that's what was being said in the kindest possible way) Tough in the moment, as Bridget wanted to rush, then suck back behind the leg/wiggle/look at everything, but in general still a fair assessment. This is the first 'push' ride I've ever owned and it still feels weird. No excuses though, I want to be as quiet as possible up there regardless of what horse I'm sitting on!

- Canter is unbalanced/hurried. This one is self explanatory and a work in progress.

With those in mind, we tackled our dressage lesson. My lesson mate was working on counter canter loops, which was actually quite complimentary to what we're working on with Bridget: control over the shoulders and hindquarters through transitions. We started with a shoulder in on the circle, then moved out around the arena. Next, we added in some haunches in, then started alternating moving the shoulders and haunches while keeping the  pony's neck straight and her body on the proper, consistent angle. Tricky, when you're switching between bends. In relation to my above goals, I really concentrated on letting the pony carry me, and trusting her to hold the position and tempo on her own.

Finally, we carried the above exercise into the canter. Bridget is starting to learn how to carry herself and is finally getting strong enough to move her shoulders and haunches around in the canter. Pretty exciting stuff!
If nothing else, I am winning at growing luxurious pony tails. I had no idea it was so long until I saw this pic - time to bang it like a proper british pony.
At some point in the past few months, my riding goals have gone from just wanting to be effective/safe and have a fun hobby, to wanting to actually be good at this. I have some long term goals that have been floating around in my head for years now, and I currently have zero excuses for not pursuing them. EC is on board with that plan, so expect a lot of rider/horse management boot camp type posts in the near future - we're about to start addressing some of my terrible riding habits and push my comfort zone in a big way. I'm also going to ride some horses other than the pony. After this many years, you can expect these changes will be painful.  I have no idea if any of my goals will come to fruition, but that's not the point. The point is that I don't want to look back on life and have any regrets or what ifs. Here goes nothing....;)


  1. This is a big part of why I like dressage. Every show is such a good way to improve. Oh, and that tail is amazing :)

    1. Yes, all those helpful comments for $25/test seems like a bargain!

  2. All good goals to work on. That is also why I like dressage- you get real feedback rather then just a ribbon (or not) and no real idea why.

    1. I've done a little bit of showing on the flat, and yes, I much prefer a dressage test as far as feeling like I've been judged fairly and been given useful training/riding tips. On the other hand, it's pretty lonely out there in the dressage court!

  3. I love that dressage tests give scores back and have comments. And dressage shows have ride times...

  4. ooooh goals sound exciting!