Thursday 14 December 2017

Audrey Lesson Recap 12/11/2017

I miss EC's barn in some ways, in so many other ways I'm happy where I am - loving the peace and quiet (and space! and cost savings!) in our current digs.

The big thing I miss from EC's barn is EC herself. Too bad there's no frickin way I'd ever convince her to move further northward!

My lesson on Audrey started off pretty much where we ended last time, and progressed from there. If you'll recall, Audrey is just as wiggly and fussy as Bridget, so getting her to work properly is tricky, at least for me. Particularly as she is quite athletic and supple, so sometimes I'm fooled into thinking something is great, when she's barely putting any effort in and it could be so much better.

Feels like we are doing this, to me.
But this is far closer to my reality.
It's embarrassing, but this lesson marks the first time she's really, truly been on my aids for most of the ride, and going around like a proper dressage horse. Previously, I resorted to long and low more often than not, due to not wanting to annoy her and risk some excitement, lol. I've finally got a good feel for the amount of contact she likes (a lot more than Bridget!) and the amount of outside rein/straightness/impulsion needed (surprisingly almost the same as B). So, with that, it became a whole lot easier to ride her. I think a good part of my problem before was not wanting to pressure her enough. Now that I'm more familiar with her quirkiness, I'm a lot more confident about getting after her and less inclined to always blame myself when things get weird. Plus, while she's very opinionated and very expressive, I'm learning it's almost all bark and very little bite - honestly, when it comes down to it she's far less likely to hold a grudge/start a war when you correct her than my sassy Bridget pony is.
I am the WORST at media. Here's Audrey eating her dinner, after my lesson when I finally remembered blogging and pictures.

What I still really need to work on is my leg, my outside leg in particular. I'm far too strong with it, and A is not amused. It was especially noticeable in our canter departs...we were back to having intermittent issues there again. She really just needs me quickly sweep my outside leg lightly back and then sit and ask from my inside WITHOUT ANY OUTSIDE LEG ANYWHERE NEAR HER THANK YOU. Guilty as charged, apparently I am still in the habit of draping my leg there "just in case", which on B actually works as a threat to help to keep her bending correctly :) On A, it means she's thinking I may ask for travers and she is like "enough already! Ask for real, or else!" and gets quite quickly fed up with me.

Mini interlude for Cathryn

Honestly, A is fussy and grumpy, and while that is excellent for telling on all of my own quirks...there's a happy medium where she could be a little more tolerant of me - thank goodness A is just a wb mare and not a pony mare or the level of 'tude might break records. So, the take home for Bridget isn't that I never touch her a la Audrey - it's that I need to stop "helping" so much and hold B more accountable for her actions. She particularly needs to be more responsive off my outside rein, and I need to stop using so much leg to 'help' shape her.
That's right, Bridget. You're going to learn from this lesson too.

I'm gaining so, so much from this opportunity. Audrey is about a year further along training wise than B (and, like 3 dressage levels, because...talent), and a surprisingly similar ride in a lot of ways. Yes, A is far more naturally talented, but training is training, and it's pretty neat to compare the similar "feel" that two vastly different horses have, mostly I think from sharing  a nearly identical program (OK, and the mare 'tude sisterhood is strong between them too, true pony sisters or not, lol). It's like a sneak preview into where I hope to be with Bridget next year, and gives me not just inspiration, but some more training tools in advance as well. Also, motivation to be better, because let's be honest, its a challenge right now for me to ride A mare well...keeping all 4 corners contained and moving the same way is a challenge in itself on her, and nothing like what I'm used to on my cobby pony whose legs simply aren't long enough to get too far out from under her belly/ center of gravity :)

What it feels like going from riding Bridget to Audrey

Looking ahead, it's clinic weekend coming up already! I haven't had a lesson on B in 7 weeks, so it will be interesting to get feedback on where we're at.



  1. it's awesome that Audrey is so similar to B in so many ways - esp that you can still take so many lessons home to Bridget

  2. You are so lucky to have Audrey to work with and then transfer to B. It's so easy to fall into a comfort zone with horses and accept what we shouldn't.

  3. Have fun this weekend can' wait to read all about it. And B is so cute in her winter clothes :)

  4. Pretty awesome you can transfer a lot of what you learn from A to B!

    And yessssss minis for days <3

  5. That's so cool that you can transfer your learning between your horses! I've got a pair like that, too, and am so grateful for the cascading effect of learning.