Second dressage lesson in a two week period for us–I had scheduled it that way because I think my week coming up might be too busy to try to squeeze in another dressage lesson.
And Oats was really good! We had some moments of great ‘try’ and some of awkwardness (his head-tossing feeling blocked at the trot). We even worked on some no-stirrups canter, upon which Oats immediately went down to trot when I kicked off my stirrups. Apparently the change in seat pressure is a big trigger for him–he thinks I’m at risk of falling off, so he slows right down? Hahaha! He takes care of me (sometimes).
We worked on no-stirrup canter, to sitting trot, to walk transitions. It was a good, wholesome and very thorough ride. In the walk work, we threw in a few straight lines, working with the mirrors to determine if we were actually straight or if he was moving his butt around too much–a lot of that actually…Also something interesting- instead of wanting to come down and through his body in the canter, Oats tossed in a few swaps to right lead from the left. WTF Oats? And you say flying lead changes are too hard, and you’re putting them out right left and centre to avoid giving to the bridle? Gak! To fix this, Karen had me make sure he didn’t have the opportunity to bring his nose outside on the left rein and it mostly fixed it, though I could feel him wanting to swap instead of come down.
The trot work that got kind of wonky was when we did a fair amount of canter, and then in the trot Oats got SO balky and head-tossy…And like was hopping up/down instead of striding forward. To fix that, Karen suggested I move my elbows forward to ‘give’ to him a bit, and kick kick kick him on! He was just feeling ‘blocked’.
It took a little bit, and I had to release my defensive position to enable some success here. Interestingly, my defensive position comes into play when stuff like this happens, probably because a tiny part of me doesn’t ‘trust’ Oats to make the right decision, ie- forward.
Despite my non-trusting, he worked out of it and we got some FAB trot.
Then, hilariously, we worked on this weird exercise called ‘make the horse crazy’ haha. The idea is to use your seat – VERY firmly- to PUSH the horse forward, as much as you can. It’s great for using a driving seat and for re-training riders like me who get defensive and tend to perch forward when they are unsure. Oats didn’t respond like crazy – ha, him? Nope…But we did eventually get enough forward to canter from that one seat direction. Cool eh? Karen did caution us to not practice this at home. It has to be done under direction, because it can backfire if you do it incorrectly. Noted!