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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  


Today's Lesson

I took a lesson today with my instructor Judy.  It was a different type of lesson than normal.....I began warming Dreamy up and then Judy offered to ride her for the first time ever.  Then I got on again and finished the hour ride.  It was neat for many reasons.  In the past, I have begged Judy to ride her when I have been having trouble with something, usually the canter.  Judy is great because instead of just getting on my horse and "fixing" her, she really encourages ME to take the lesson that day and learn techniques to fix it myself (not to mention she totally calms me down when I am all stressed).  As she reminds me, I have to be able to work through things on my own at home.  If I had really pushed the issue, I know Judy would have gotten on her.  But every time I had one of these meltdown moments (LOL), Judy would work us through it and I would leave my lesson feeling 100% better and knowing that I can train my horse.  I use the term "instructor" and not trainer, because Judy really is instructing me how to train my own horse.  (And I just think saying "trainer" sounds incredibly snotty.....but that's another post.  LOL)

In my last lesson, I made a comment about Judy getting on Dreamy "next time" so she could feel and understand her better.  I had no idea if she really would, but today she came out with her helmet and offered to get on.  I was super pleased.  Just watching from the ground is valuable (obviously.....or we would not have improved so much since 2008 when I started riding with her!) but having Judy actually feel what my horse is doing was important to me.

It was funny to watch her ride Dreamy since no one else ever rides her.  She rode her well, of course, and it was interesting to see how Dreamy reacted.  She was definitely worried, but never had any of her meltdowns like she used to.  Judy made her work with more contact (read: CORRECT contact.....unlike me who likes to throw away the reins and pray) and instead of fighting it, she really tried hard to do what Judy asked.  Judy did not think she was heavy in the reins as I sometimes feel she is....but what the heck do I know?  LOL!  I think when she actually accepts correct contact, I end up thinking it is too heavy.  And Judy discovered she was not as one-sided as she thought.  

And I got to see Dreamy's fantastic canter transitions!  HOLY BALANCED HORSE!  She looks nothing like she used to, lunging and flinging herself into the canter!  I thought and then said aloud...."Did I really do that???"  Meaning, did I really train her to look that nice!?!?!  LOL!  And indeed, I have!  :D


Big lesson for today?  I ride with my reins totally uneven (left shorter than right), which is what makes Dreamy feel like she is "better to the right".  Judy knew this and told me this, but it finally clicked for me today when I started looking at the braids on the reins at the walk.  I realized that while my right hand was on the "second" braid, my left was on the FOURTH!  Seriously?  I need some of those little kid rainbow reins!  I am actually going to find some colored electrical tape and make marks on my reins.  I can fix this, but I have to THINK about it.


Our canter was much improved, enough so that Judy was grinning.  Instead of only going around half the 20 m. circle before coming back to the trot to regroup and re-balance for another half of the circle canter, we were able to maintain a good 3-beat canter for a full circle.  This is HUGE progress.  We continued to do the tiny trot before and after.  She was balanced and happy, maintaining the trot (and I was able to sit....) coming down from the canter.  I am trying hard not to let her fall into the trot.  I also tried very hard to be "still" in the canter, and not allow my seat to be "too following" and "scoop" the saddle with every stride.  It was much better because I am trying hard to improve, but also my new saddle sits me in a much better position.  When I told Judy it was because of my saddle, she teased me and said it was more than just a new saddle.  True......it is not like a new saddle can suddenly make you a Grand Prix rider!  LOL!!!!!  Sometimes I have to work SO hard to make my body sit and move correctly, but I am getting there!!!


It was a great lesson. I have another exercise to do with shoulder-in and 15 m. circles which we will practice.  We'll get there!  :)


Then I tried to ride Reva when I got home.  Of course, it had to RAIN like crazy for the rest of the afternoon/night, so I only got as far as grooming her before the skies opened and the thunder/lightening began.  She has not had much attention for the last 10 days, between shows, the heat, and my strep throat, so I really wanted to ride.  Oh well.  :P

Here we are waiting to see if the rain will stop.  It was POURING but my iPhone did not really pick it up.  


 Didn't even get to try our new saddle pad!  :(

Aw, big trotter ears!  LOL!


Sparky got a good grooming this evening, too.  Dreamy came in for dinner covered with mud, having had a nice roll when we returned from our lesson, so she got to go to bed dirty.  LOL!

Comments

AareneX said…
I love reading your "lesson posts", I can hear you smiling all the way from over here!

(makes me look forward to my lesson tomorrow--thanks!)
LiveToFly said…
Glad to hear about your awesome lesson! I love reading the lesson posts too because I never get to take lesson on Johnny and I can always take something away from your posts! Keep them coming!

By the way, LOVE the new saddle pad!