Backwards love

Lesson recap! We had an audience yesterday ūüôā and I enjoy having folks around, because it helps me- I find when I am riding dressage I get distracted easily, and kind of start screwing up. I want to have an audience more often, so I learn how to handle ‘eyes’ even if they aren’t necessarily watching me- every little bit helps.

More cooperative over the poles- from last summer.

More cooperative over the poles- from last summer.

We worked on some lateral movements in a circle- figure eight; haunches in and then shoulder in. We struggled some with the shoulder-in movement, and then wonder of wonders, our haunches in was really nice. Go figure! The biggest thing I am seeing, is that his willingness to do lateral movement is REALLY improving. Every week we work on a little bit more, and every week I am seeing improvement.

Then, a bit rougher. Trot work was…ok. Not groundbreaking. He was moving forward nicely but heavy on my inside hand, and I felt him wanting to really lean, lean, lean on me. We did some counter-bend to counteract that.

And then…dun dun dun…the canter. Now this, a definite mixed bag. We really screwed up the canter down the long side, he was spooky and we basically fell out of canter, I had his head -cranked- to the inside defensively and I just couldn’t deal!

Oats protests bending at the canter- last summer.

Oats protests bending at the canter- last summer.

We then brought it back to a controlled circle at the top end and sorted it out better. The transition to the right was tricky- he would pop his head up, and I felt worried? Like maybe he was ramping up for naughty behaviour? But he wasn’t! I was just used to rising up to meet his head coming up, and instead, by sitting and staying low, his head came up and I was like…WTF?

Anyways, it was all right. The left was definitely better, ha. We ended the lesson with some over the back trot work through to the spooky side, and he was good. Not amazing, but generally trying for me. I can appreciate a good try!

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Best (dressage) canter yet for Mr. Oats!

Let’s say that I normally don’t go into my dressage lessons expecting brilliance…I go in expecting a few tantrums, some hissy-fits and then maybe¬†cooperation. Let’s face it- I spent most of the winter complaining that we weren’t making any progress!

Go dressage Oats

Go dressage Oats

BUT

We are. Had another private lessons and begged for leniency- my knees still feel like I am close to 100 years old and man they are aching! We continued on what we worked on last week, the canter circle, keeping a strong outside contact as a sort of ‘safety blanket’ to give my hands something to do, and wouldn’t you know…It went even better this week~

Not without some damage to my legs, that were aching sooooooo much afterwards!

Oats is still ‘hopping’ or popping, threatening to canter when I am actually asking for a bigger trot, but his evasions are getting much better. I got kind of annoyed and was like, oh well you want to canter? That’s fine, we can canter. But now you have to STAY in the canter! HAHA! And you have to canter the way I want you to canter~

He was rethinking that decisions shortly, but cooperated!

And I was feeling braver about kicking him on, to go forward. We’re not quite up to using the crop to get him moving at the canter (scary!) but small steps, small steps. I was really pleased with how he was moving, good pony.

And I am taking today off, hoping to heal my legs up this week in a hurry.

Oh and one bad thing for Mr. Oats- apparently he knocked down boards in his pen that were kind of falling apart already, snuck under the fence, and went gallivanting through a neighbours backyard?!~~ BAD pony!!!!!

Newsflash- Mr. Oats is no longer a lateral superstar

Yes, he’s had to¬†relinquish¬†his crown, as he was definitely on the tougher side of shoe leather yesterday to get to ‘move laterally’ as it were! ARGH.

Looks can be deceiving!

Looks can be deceiving!

Karen remarked that Oats had a sparkle in his eye and I was like, yeah I bet…A sparkle of naughty behaviour! Ha! He was pretty jazzy at the walk, like pushy and rude and didn’t want to go-over in the against-the-wall leg-yields. He pushed, he pulled his head up, he tried to charge off, oh Oats.

And then we worked it off in the trot and this is the thing I really liked about the lesson- we didn’t spend too long getting worked up about anything- it was leg yield at trot, come into a 20-metre circle at ‘A’ for some light canter work (mostly transitions because frankly our track SUCKED OUT LOUD for some reason, hahah) and then back to leg-yields using bend and then counterbend, and back on a circle, etc.

So, it was very productive even if Oats was a tad…obstinate and a tad wiggly. My foot got banged against the walls of the arena ALL LESSON! I was starting to feel like he was trying to scrape me off on purpose, jeeeeze. Karen assured me he wasn’t trying to bang me into the wall on purpose though, even if I had my suspicions- he was just wiggly trying to find his balance and ‘rocking’ around a bit against the wall and my foot!

Weak points include keeping the track at the canter to the right- definitely still not where we want to be at this point, as I was keeping him counterbent just to make the outside track happen. Also our lateral work can generously be defined as ‘in progress…’ left lead canter was better, as was his attitude towards group cantering, meaning I didn’t get charged off with or bucked off when we had to canter in a circle with our fellow lesson-mate.

I am canceling my dressage lesson next week as I have an evening with David Sedaris coming up! YEAH!!