Monday morning being a holiday, I was able to relax a bit at home before heading out to grab the horse trailer, hitch up, and load the mare. Annie was nibbling at the hay and looked a bit annoyed I was there, haha. I can't say I blame her, because I felt pretty sore from the previous day's ride.
I warmed up in the patch of grass by the Dressage arena and Annie felt very resistant in the bridle - her steps were kind of jerky and stompy vs being a bit floatier. I worked her at the walk and trot, alternating between pushing her shoulder in and out like I had done in the previous lesson. It worked well and I was able to get her to relax down a bit more. She likes to start out tense like that, especially when we aren't in an arena.
I did attempt to sit on her a bit and she floundered against me, making her back rigid and hollow. After a few strides, she settled a bit but alternated between relaxing slightly and hollowing herself. I did realize that perhaps it was a bit too early to sit the trot, so I went back to rising once I got some OK sitting work from her.
|More trot poles!|
The idea behind the lesson wasn't about asking her to be on the bit - it was about pushing her into steady contact and asking her to move in front of the leg and staying in that pace until I gave another cue.
|She's adorable. <3|
It made me shockingly aware as to how little I practice "lengthening" or moving out. Typically, I am working hard to slow Annie down, which in a way, has consumed a lot of my schooling time. Annie snaked her head up as I closed my legs around her and attempted to protest a handful of times before complying and moving out readily.
|Practicing our forward response.|
I would start asking at the start of the poles and would need a
response by the end of the poles.
The trot to the left was more stiff than to the right, especially during the "extension". For the first few laps when we were establishing forward, Anthony kept asking for more. It was interesting because it felt like we were flying at the trot, and Anthony called out that Annie was probably only trotting about 75% of her athletic ability. Which, is kind of cool? She didn't really know how to use herself tho, which is understandable. A lot of the under-powered trot came from lack of education - mare found it easier to canter than extend her legs out. Which, me too, horse... me too.
|A nice balanced canter. You will note she is stretching her|
hind end quite hard - those little pivots are working :)
Some of the main points of the lesson:
- When working on collection/slow, it's important to work on extension/fast work to stretch the horse out a bit.
- Don't avoid things that are difficult (ie. going fast ruins our steering). Work on the pieces and start to put them together - but don't avoid them.
- Straight lines to the jumps, practice obedience and ensure you turn in enough time. You don't want to have to over-correct when you are coming up to a jump, especially when the jumps get higher.
- Practice all kinds of different figures - loops, circles, etc.
- Pick a spot in the arena to ask her to move forward (in this case we chose jump standards and poles), and once you pass it, the horse should have already responded.
- Don't change things - when you head to the trot poles, just steer. Don't push, don't pull, don't do anything but steer. That's all you need to do!
|Good little bean.|
Overall, a really good lesson that was difficult but it brought up some really good points. Lots of things I need to work on and lots of things I need to start incorporating into my rides. The jumping felt so much better, just having Annie be more forward and feel committed to the jump vs me continuously asking her to be committed.