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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 …

Chilly Winter Riding!

Today is a typical November day in Maine....cold, overcast, and raw.  :)  The sun did not come out, so the 40 degree temps felt colder than had the sun been out in full force. 

I cleaned the barn and headed to a riding lesson at 9AM this morning.  I took fairly regular lessons until school began, and then it becomes tough.  This is the first lesson since August, I think!  LOL!  It was cold and I almost thought of canceling, because my warm house seemed like a much better place to be.  But I am really glad I didn't.  Dreamy is a bit out of shape, since my rides are limited now that school is in session.  But we had some nice canter work today.  :)  We tried a canter figure eight, with a simple change at the walk at X.  We tried this last August at our last few lessons and, well, the changes did not go so well.  We can do them pretty well from the trot, but a true simple change at the walk was hard. 

I was surprised but happy when the changes went well!  Going to the left was just about perfect.  I was also able to keep our left lead canter circle to 15 m.  Yahoo!  First Level, here we come!  Going to the right is always harder for her, but it wasn't horrendous.  We got the canter and the first two right lead changes.  Then she got all pissy and had a hard time picking up the right lead canter from the walk.  I finally did get one that Judy and I were pleased with, but it took a few tries.  That was OK to me...as I said, she is out of her "show shape" and I was asking her to do something that is hard for her.  What I did get was still better than August, so that was good.

We did some trot leg yields and a few trot lengthenings.  I have to remember not to rev her up too much for the trot lengthening.  I have to remember that she will go forward for me without much effort.  I get too excited sometimes....like today when she broke into the canter on the first lengthening.  Whoops!  Totally rider error.  Despite that, it was a good yet chilly (!!!) ride.  I hope to go over for another lesson in two weeks....hopefully the snow will hold off until then!  LOL!

I returned home and really thought about just showering and reading a good book in my warm house.   Both my son and husband are gone this weekend (the little one to my mom's house and the latter up north hunting), so it is odd but relaxing to have the house to myself.  Instead, I mustered the energy to ride Reva.  I am so glad that I did!


She was super!  We got some very soft and easy walk/trot transitions.  She is really proving to be sensitive to my aids.  All I have to do is exhale and she comes into the downward transition.  :)  Sometimes she is a bit too abrupt, but I rather have her sharp on my aids.  It only takes a bit of finesse to get her soft and attentive without slamming on the brakes.  Her trot is starting to really come together, rather than her just rushing, rushing, rushing.  I have not been on her nearly as much as I would have wanted this year, but I am happy with her progress despite that.  We practiced trot/halt center lines and turns on the forehand.  I was very impressed with how easily she did the turn on the forehands!  That was huge for her.  I introduced a little leg yielding on the circle at the walk, and she is starting to really get it.  She is really starting to fully understand my leg and seat cues, and her bending is so much better than this spring.  


Then I took her out on the lawn and rode her over the Scary Tarp (which I set up again the same as last Sunday).  She marched right over it.  :)  I took her around the house, and past the outdoor wood furnace, which sometimes looks like a monster.  Her ears were pricked, but she marched right along.  :)  I rode her down the driveway and down the dirt road until the new pavement.  She reached down to look at the pavement, hesitated for a moment, but as my legs closed on her sides, she walked right into it.  We walked along for a few strides and went back to the barn.  I am proud of her for being so brave.  :)

Comments

  1. It's cold here in Jersey. I can't even imagine what it's like up there! Sounds like you had some awesome rides. Nice work! I wonder if simple changes through the walk would help my guy...

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  2. Thanks for the lesson updates! Makes me look forward to my chilly lesson tomorrow! Thinking it may be my last one until early Spring : ) Getting to Mature to ride during the Winter now : )

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