Tuesday 18 July 2017

Lesson Recap

Our lesson slot started off with further scheming re: the future of Ms Ginger and Bridget. Result: I'm incapable of making any horsey decisions at the moment! Breed B or buy a prospect next spring? Sell or lease Ginger? Or keep her and breed next spring? The great thing about all of this discussion is that I don't think there's a bad decision to be made, they're all solid choices. Plus, I have a super experienced and supportive coach to discuss it all with, so while it is getting time to make a firm decision and start planning to follow that path, I'm not overly worried about it, just excited. I know she has a better handle on my abilities and the most likely paths to achieve my goals than I do, and I'm very appreciative of that. Also..Bridget. She's not going anywhere, so I have a fun pony to play around on no matter what level we end up at.

Then, we rode! We ran through some walk pirouettes to start, because Midge could not possibly bend left. We then moved them out onto a larger circle, so essentially like so:
Back legs on the inside track, pony bent around my inside leg, front legs come around on the outside track. Spiral in and out as needed.

Then, up into trot. Practicing letting her stretch/take the reins and then picking the contact back up without any pony 'tude. That's tough for Midge, but she was actually stellar (for her) about keeping a consistent, forward, pace and being steady in the bridle. Then we moved up to canter and practiced some trot/canter transitions which were a bit 'meh'...she's still popping that outside shoulder (my fault - too slow catching her with my outside aids!) slightly as I ask, so there's a moment where she's wiggly and above the bit, but then the canter itself is lovely. So, baby steps - we've got the transition in the walk to canter really nice, so I'm sure we'll get back there from the trot too. We sort of messed things up a bit when we added lengthening and collecting and all that lateral work this winter...the wheels fell off elsewhere because I feel like B is really overthinking things now and anticipating me asking for a change in pace or bend and potentially her balance when we don't need one....much pony drama results because of course she knows best and thinks boring straight lines with nothing else to do are beneath her obvious talents...best to invent some new moves like any other dedicated Welsh Cob ;)
Ginger with her besties this morning

I was sort of left a bit by myself for all the above. Not to say there wasn't attention being paid or guidance being offered, but I was kind of trusted to sort out the little things myself and just use the exercise and get to work  I'm good with that...it's been the same program for so long now I feel like I recognize what is needed and have the tools I need a lot of the time. It's confidence boosting for me because I take her silence to mean I'm using those tools effectively.

Finally, the place where we needed help - riding through some dressage tests! Our centerlines are actually quite straight, but for now I feel like I need to sit the trot and really push her forward to keep her connected....see above about wiggly giraffe pony. We cantered a couple to emphasize forward and straight in her mind, then went outside the box and turned the opposite way in counter canter to keep her guessing. Fun times.
Treats for being a good girl?

Changing the left bend as we ran through the tests was also a current weak point. It's not bad, per say, but it's not her favorite side, so anywhere there is a change of bend or transition to the left we get that above mentioned moment of trying to pop to the outside and brace above the bit. At least it's minimal, but certainly something to work on as I'm sure it's not a very appealing picture to see the pony resist, even momentarily. I need to prep better for it and generally just school on a left bend a bit more, I think. It used to be our good side, but such is life :) 

We finished with some discussion on how to ride the loops in Training 3...I've seen different things suggested, and even had different feedback from different judges on this last summer. EC suggests more of a triangle shape, ie turn and go straight for a few strides as if you're going across the diagonal, before changing the bend for a half circle over x, then straight again "across the diagonal" before changing back just after the quarterline. Think of the exercise as like riding two short diagonals. That seems like it would keep life simple for me.
This deer is just cute...same one that has been living in or around the yard for a year or two now. We don't feed him, but he seems to stay and has a nest he sleeps in near the gate.  It's ridiculous here - so many deer. He and his buddies in the area are smart enough to wait for traffic and walk in the bike lanes when they travel by road, they're kind of suburban deer now.



  1. Sounds like a great lesson! I always love it when my coach gives me that quiet time because I know it's because she has trust that I can sort it out on my own. Not that I don't like it when she has feedback for me (or is constantly needing to remind me about things) because that's why I have lessons but those little moments of silence are also nice :)

  2. Ahh two of my favorite things - talking test strategy, and general planning and scheming for the future! Sounds very productive all around!!

  3. Awww, glad you had a great lesson!

  4. Sounds like a great lesson. I was told to make the loop as smooth as possible, like a nice bendy flow.

  5. Sounds like great lesson work! Lol, the only quiet time I seem to get is when my coach pauses to palm plant on her forehead or I leave her speechless with my inability...:P