A stiff dressage lesson

Oats was just not there yesterday unfortunately. We had a private due to our other lesson partner’s horse with a cough, and Oats warmed up stiff and resistant and kind of…Stayed that way. It was definitely a bummer, but we ended up breaking down the steps to get the lovely, soft bending horse that I am used to having!

Is this too much to ask for? Right now, YES! hahah

Step 1: Leave the trot alone and go back to sitting trot quietly bending in a big bend in small circles.

Step 2: Trot/walk from the sitting trot to walk transitions. The key here is to keep a very deep headsets and relax over the back.

Step 3: Canter is from sit trot, deep bend, and when it falls apart, then ask for a trot transition BEFORE it goes. Sit the trot down, and bend deeply. Keep riding through the transition.

Our right lead was actually not bad, but the left certainly didn’t improve that much. We had a few moments of ‘yes thats it, that is the canter I wanted!!’ but we couldn’t keep it at all. And our downward transitions on the left were…Not good.

And I am trying to figure out how to get more weight on Oats. Time for new hay I think, after discussing it with both trainers this week. I upped his Equi-Cal to the max last night (after weighing it on Becky’s food scale) and I have a phone number for a new hay guy with better hay. I will call him today!

And we go through a LOT of Equi-Cal now. Like…a bag a week! it’s nuts! Have to go and get more next week even. I have, of course, like three freaking bags of All Phase still and none left of Equi-Cal, because that is all Oats was fed for the past 12 years! ARGH.

I miss my chubbier Oats, and I want him back 🙂 He was never really chubby but he was at a healthy weight and I didn’t feel his poor spine bones all the time when I rode him bareback.

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Life of Leisure

Life of Leisure

So, I took part in a semi-private group lesson with the esteemed Karen Brain yesterday, in an effort to get over this rut I’ve been feeling.

It’s not really ‘tangible’ but I just have a lingering thought, whenever I ride, that I could be DOING more, going more places with Oats, and that I am holding myself back.

Yeah everyone has occasional ‘bad’ rides, but I feel like they aren’t ‘bad’ necessarily, they’re just…lacklustre. He’s not giving me his all, and I’m not giving him my ALL.

So, enter Karen- who comes fabulously recommended. She has had a tough road, and she’s very dedicated. I asked to join in on her semi-privates with another rider at the barn on a drop-in basis, and she said that was no problem.

And wow, that lesson was an ass-kicking. I was right, I wasn’t asking enough- not NEAR enough.

Oats and I were in for a shock, haha. Starting right from the walk, the walk she wanted was ‘feet on fire’ quicker steps. She used terminology like ‘edge of a cliff’ as if he is going to break into trot at any second. And it was TOUGH. She also wanted forward- and then- bend. And then bend at the trot, and more trot. She didn’t care how ugly it got, or how fussy Oats got about having to *gasp* MOVE and BEND at the same time? And not suck back? Whaa?

It was eye-opening, and it was definitely what I needed. I realized that I don’t ask for anywhere near the level she was demanding from us because it is HARD. I need someone like her, to get on my case about asking more from Oats.

Oats didn’t know what hit him! Hahah. He got his pony butt worked, and worked very hard (for me anyways!). I was soaked in sweat, but I felt good, like running a nice 10k where your effort felt worth it.

I will be trying to join in about twice a month for the semi-private lessons- as Karen says, all my jumping issues can be handled on the flat. You don’t get braver by just jumping bigger jumps- you get braver sorting out any issues on the flat, and KNOWING you have control, and can ask for more, or less, or whatever.

And that, is how I hope to break out of my rut. How did it take me this long to step up to the plate? Laziness? Yeah, I think that must be it. The devil is in the details, and unfortunately my complacency is only holding me back.