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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 …

Riding Lesson....

Oh Blogger, how I've missed you!  LOL!  With the start of school, life has been hectic, but not in a bad way.  I miss summer, but I like to teach, so life is good.  :)

I took a riding lesson on August 27, right before I had to return to school that Monday.  I knew it would be my last one for a while, since I can no longer take a lesson during the week with school in session and my weekends are pretty full for the next few weeks.

We did some really great lateral exercises.  Dreamy was SOOO good....relaxed and accepting the bit without any fussing.  I was super happy with how she went.  I just wish I did not have to wait a few weeks until my next lesson....after having lessons almost every week this summer, this working business is getting in the way!  LOL!

First we did a shoulder in exercise.  We did it in both directions, but I will explain it on the left rein.  We trotted down the long side in shoulder-in to the left.  We turned left (say at "C") down the center line.  I changed the bend to shoulder-in to the right.  Then at "X" we circled to the right on a 10 m. circle.  I straightened her and asked for shoulder-in to the left, then turned to the left (say at "A") and then did the exercise again.  Judy was pleased, as she said it was a hard exercise, but we did it with ease.  :)  It really seemed to help engage her and keep her connected.

Next we did haunches-in (travers).  Whoa boy, this was hard because it is pretty much the same aids as shoulder-in, and neither Dreamy nor I have ever done it.  It does not count that I did all these movements back in 1999 one summer on well trained Lusitano stallions in weekly lessons!  LOL!  I had my instructor with a longe whip in the center of the ring, yelling in Portuguese and the horse knew what to do without much prompting from me!  :-D


Dreamy kept thinking I wanted her to canter, as she went through her Rolodex trying to decide what I was asking.  And I know I was being muddled in my aids as I tried to decide what I was asking for.


The exercise was to trot in shoulder-in down the long side, let's say on the left rein again.  We were in shoulder-in left.  Once I reached the mid point (say either "E" or "B") I circled 10 m. to the left.  As we came out of the circle, I asked for the haunches-in to the left.  It was tough to maintain the correct bend while moving her haunches towards "X".  But despite the fact that we struggled with haunches-in, in our efforts I got her into my outside rein, which was really the point of the exercise anyway!  LOL!  But I do think we can master the haunches-in, as we ended up with a few steps at the end of the exercise.  And I have gotten a few decent steps here at home...it won't be long before we can maintain haunches-in all the way down the long side!  :)


Just for fun, Judy had us trying some baby steps of renvers, which is haunches out.  We went along in shoulder-in and I changed the bend.  Pretty hard to time my aids correctly, so it felt like I was ping-ponging between shoulder-in and haunches-in (sorta....) LOL!  But we will get there!  It was fun to try new exercises and realize that Dreamy CAN do it, as long as I figure out what I am asking!


We got some decent canter work too, which was nice.  It is so rewarding to see such progress in Dreamy.  And I know my equitation has come a long way.


First Level is not feeling so scary.....!!!!  :D

Comments

  1. It sounds like such great progress. We are definitely not that far along yet but someday, hopefully. I will have to quit lessons soon too so I understand your disappointment.

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  2. It sounds like the hard work is paying off. Hope that you don't mind, but I used Dreamy as proof that Standardbreds can be dressage horses. They were impressed by Dreamy. So job done.

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