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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.  

Reva Goes to School (aka A Riding Lesson!)

This past Tuesday I took Reva to my instructor's farm for a lesson.  This was only her second time off the farm, the first time having been the Chris Lombard clinic back in June.  Of course, Reva was Little Miss Perfect.  She trailered there without issue, stood quietly at the trailer while I tacked her up, and was very good the entire lesson.  


We had been having some issue with the trot lately, as she wants to only walk or canter.  So at times her trot would be "hoppy" where she would  try to go up into the canter.  She obviously does not know what a half-halt is just yet, so I had been doing my best to push her forward into a trot and maintain it.  I focused on just the walk/trot and trot/walk transitions.  I even stopped cantering for now, because I know she can do it, but I want her to understand that anything faster than a walk does not always have to be a canter.


We began by working on turn on the forehand, as a way to reinforce moving off my leg and connecting to the bit.  She did well, but at first was a little confused and wanted to step back.  That was easily fixed as I kept her in front of my leg.  


She did quite well at the trot, not even once trying to do her hoppy canter thing, which made me pleased.  I told Judy (my instructor) that her trot felt really tiny and choppy to me.  I had been trying to lengthen her stride by sending her forward.  Judy agreed it was a small trot, but that what I needed to do was slow her trot down to allow her to find her balance first.  As she reminded me, we wanted longer NOT faster.  As soon as I thought more about slow and less about forward, her stride lengthened!  She actually has a fluid and comfortable trot and I was happy to see how I could easily improve it.  It felt counter intuitive  to me, but I also have to remember I am riding a green horse again.  I am so used to riding Dreamy.... a horse who knows what all the aids mean and has decent gaits already without me having to do much!  LOL!  Even though I have to still ride Reva like a "big horse" at the same time I have to remember she is unbalanced and young.  


Much of our trot work was interspersed with walk breaks.  Reva is not in good enough shape to have a lesson like Dreamy, of course.  


At the end, I did chose to canter because Judy has a wonderful ring compared to my unlevel field where I ride at home.  To the left, she was great.  She has a clear three beat rhythm and while she is not balanced yet, she is so much further along in her canter work than Dreamy was at this stage.  Her canter is big and is a bit strung out right now, but Judy was still very positive about it.  :)  I have been having trouble getting our right lead, so I was hoping Judy could help with that.  She had me trot tracking to the left, then cross the ring at X as though I was just making a circle to the left.  But before the fence, I changed her bend and asked her to canter on the right lead tracking right.  We tried it a few times, but she insisted on picking up the wrong (left) lead.  Judy had me stop trying and just get the canter one more time to the left on the correct lead, so I did not end on a wrong note.  I asked her what I should do at home.  For now, she wants me to just give the exercise a try a couple of times and stop if it does not work.  There is no use drilling it or worrying about it right now.  She is too green.  As long as she is at least giving me a canter, Judy said not to worry about leads.  


Overall, Reva was excellent for her first lesson.  I wish we had gotten that right lead, but I am going to take Judy's advice and not worry yet.  :)  (That is hard for any of you who know me....LOL!!!)  My goal is to get the right lead correct 80% of the time before snow flies.  :)  Judy was very encouraging of Reva and the progress I have made with her so far.  She gave me a generous compliment when she said at the end that I had two very nice mares, meaning Reva and Dreamy.  :D


I am hoping Reva will make an appearance at a local dressage schooling show later this fall.  She will not be showing yet, but I would take her as "schooling on the grounds" which is half the entry fee for a class (so it would only cost me $10).  I am hoping that if I arrive during the lunch break, they might allow me to ride her into the actual dressage ring.  Probably not, but at least I could ride her in the more active environment of the warm-up arena and general showgrounds.  

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sounds like a very productive outing, and she sounds like a very nice and sensible young horse!