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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Lesson 8/19/08

I FINALLY had a lesson!!! :) My instructor Judy had her ring footing redone, so I had to take a few weeks off. Of course, I was unable to bring Dreamy (see top post for more info on why) so I called to re-schedule it on Monday. Judy offered to let me ride her sale mare Violet. I figured it would be a good learning experience for me.

And boy, not only was it a good learning experience, but also a VERY humbling one. :) Riding a Second Level horse after being on an green/Intro/Training level horse for a couple years really makes it obvious where you are lacking! It was great to ride Violet, don't get me wrong.....even if it was a bit frustrating. I know in my brain what I need to do, but my body just does not cooperate. This lesson reaffirmed how much I don't know about dressage. :D

Violet is a very sweet mare. She is a 8 (or maybe 7?) yo gray TB/Percheron cross and Judy has had for a 3 years or so. She knows nothing about Violet's prior life. Judy was told she was broke under saddle, but she suspects she was not at all.....she was quite upset when Judy first got on her. But it is obvious that Judy has done a wonderful job with Violet and she is really a nice mare. If only I had the means to own another horse.....LOL! :)

The hardest part was getting used to the degree of contact and how short I had to have my reins. Dreamy must have a much longer neck than I imagined....not to mention we are still figuring out how to maintain a constant and steady connection to the bit. I also think I am ineffective with my leg, something that does not bother Dreamy, but Violet was not impressed. She is at the level where if I am not asking 100% correctly, forget it...she will not do what I asked. As Judy put it, "She's a push-button horse!" when I was unable to get her to do what I (thought I) was asking.

Violet had a comfortable canter. But of course, I am still doing my upper body pumping thing. UGGGGGGGG. I....just...can't....stop!!!!!!! For some reason I want to pump with my seat and upper body. It has become such an ingrained habit. Judy was saying, "Stop moving, stop pumping" over and over and I finally had to laugh and say "But I REALLY am trying not to move!!!"

Man, it made me feel like a complete dunce. I know I am a good (enough) rider and I know exactly what she wanted me to do, but I simply could not make my body do want I wanted it to do. I wish I could take a lesson on a horse like Violet about 3 times a week. Heck, I wish I could ride a horse like her every day and it would not take long for me to become the rider I want to be. I should have been a working student. I am very good at mucking stalls! LOL! Ah well. Now I have the husband, kid, career.....it is wonderful of course. But sometimes in the back of my mind I think how great it would be to ride lots of horses everyday and just focus on my riding. Maybe someday when I am retired and C is off at college/being an adult. LOL!!!

I am thankful for having the opportunity to ride Violet. I hope she doesn't sell TOO quickly because I would love to ride her again. ;-)

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