What makes a good man?

It felt like I hadn’t had a solid dressage lesson in forever! We had a break due to a change in my fellow rider’s schedule, so yesterday I was quite interested in getting back on the dressage train.

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Totally us right now. So, where are the next Olympics?

And you know what? It was a really good, solid and comprehensive lesson. We first worked on some modified quarter-turn on the haunches at each corner, focusing on getting the horse to move off your leg instead of ‘pulling’ around the turn. Then, we focused on getting the turn ‘all the way around’ instead of just a quarter. I had to expand my circle because Oats wanted to pivot off the hind end, instead of turning his shoulders more.

It was actually way harder than it looked or than I thought it was going to be. And we sucked at it on the left rein, yeesh. Oh well!

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Mr. Oats, dressage superstar

Next we worked on positioning for Travers lateral work with actually some really solid progress at the walk. When we moved up to trot it was…interesting. Some things I learned and need to remind myself: Lower is always good, so allow Oats to reach/stretch his neck down when he feels resistant. If it seems awkward and too hard, break it down. Move off leg for one side. Then ask for the inside bend on the other side.

Make it really clear what you are asking: Bend. Move off leg. One at a time. THEN try combining the pieces, relaxing the pressure as you ask. Give-take, give-take.

We even got ‘some’ positioning at the trot (which was described to be as a banana shape, the horse forms a banana and you travel that way haha), which surprised me as it was kind of tricky for Oats to understand and I wasn’t expecting him to get it in the lesson. Go us!! He wanted to stretch hardcore after that and got fussy. To be expected, and actually his attitude towards the whole lesson was great- he wasn’t having any hissy fits, hopping up and down, or anything! WOW! I think that was the first time I’ve been able to ask for lateral work of such comprehensiveness without some squawking from Oats.

Go Oats go! Some really great efforts and grown up work from the pony. 🙂

Mr. Oats – Lateral superstar?

I was NOT having a good day yesterday. Picture all the grumpy cat meme’s you can think of, add them together and you get me.

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat

Bad day at work, I had a dream that my dad contacted us again and was happy, until I realized it was a dream…And not happening…

So yeah, bad mood, bad day, bad everything.

I was grouchy and annoyed, didn’t want to go to my dressage lesson, didn’t want to work hard, didn’t, didn’t, didn’t.

But, I got home, put my breeches on, took the dog out, grouched at my husband, and left, sulkily, for the barn. And you know what? Every time I don’t want to do anything (which let’s face it, right now seems to happen a lot), getting up and MAKING MYSELF do it makes alllllll the difference.

I got Oaty-pony and we warmed up for our lesson. Once we warmed up, Karen had us work on some ‘graduated’ lateral movements, like learning the Travers starting from our head facing the wall and moving his butt off the track.

Dressage days

Dressage days

The clouds opened up, the sun shone, rainbows appeared, and we had our BEST lateral work to date! I was so pleased with little Oaty. Usually our lateral attempts are accompanied by hissy fits, rudeness, ‘I don’t wannas’, etc.

Of course, when we tried to duplicate this at the trot, things pretty much fell apart, but hey…Even his attitude was much improved. He did his awkward ‘bump up’ balky moves, but I’m learning that they aren’t the mega-launches that I keep expecting. He is trying and I love it!

Of course our work throughout the whole lesson wasn’t amazing, but I can feel that he is genuinely giving me a solid attempt, he is trusting me and I am learning to trust him. He’s trying his best, whereas before he was kind of trying, finding it hard, and shutting down. Karen says this is the breakthrough she was saying was coming ages ago- even though I didn’t quite believe her then haha.

So, my annoying and grouchy day ended with some really positive work from Oats. Go good pony!