Saturday, September 17, 2011

Now we're getting somewhere

I was finally able to use the almost dry indoor all by myself today! I was debating trying the field again, but since I've only gone through our dressage test two full times, and forgot a movement both times, I figured I better throw in a cram session while I could.

Red warmed up really well and was giving me some really fabulous trot work. I don't know why, but all the sudden he's figured out what I'm asking of him at the trot. His leg yields aren't great and we really need to work on our lateral work, but he's going so much softer in his head and neck. He's actually bringing his chin in, but I can feel him lifting his back up, too, and really pushing off with each step now. Before, he would get tense and dump his whole body forward, dragging his toes and clenching his teeth. Maybe my riding has gotten better (One can hope!), but I also think it's more that he's trudging up huge hills every day in turnout and he's learning that using his hind end makes getting ridden pretty frickin' easy.

He also picked up his right lead at the canter correctly both times in warm up. Yee haw! We were interrupted halway through our test by a beginner lesson. Fortunately only one girl, and she was beginnger beginner--like, "Here is how you make horsey go to the left. Here is how you make horsey stop. Whoaa, horsey!" So she stayed to one end of the arena and I decided to drill Red in getting his right lead on the other end.

Well, it was a drilling, no doubt about it. He would not pick up his right lead!

Red: "I AM GIVING YOU THE FANCIEST TROT EVER! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME! LOOK HOW FANCY I AM!"

ME: "Thank you for that, but I WANT YOU TO CANTER ON THE RIGHT LEAD!"

I got it once. Out of fifteen straight minutes of trot a circle, pick up canter on left lead, come back down to trot, pick up canter on left lead, trot, canter, trot....You get the point. I tried to situate myself a million different ways to get it. He just would not give it to me. I was finally getting so frustrated, I felt like I was going to cry, so I let him walk for five minutes so we could both regroup.

Beginner girl moved on to walking around the entire arena, so I decided to give it another go on the other side of the arean--at A/X where we have to pick it up in the test. And he did it. Perfectly. The first time. Really? Just who is in charge of reading the dressage test here, buddy?!

I left it at that with tons of pats and "Good Pony!!". The best part of it was, even though his veins were popping in his shoulder while we were working at that canter, by the time I let him have his little walk break and cool out a little bit, he wasn't sweaty at all. Not even under his girth. We probably only worked for forty minutes, but it was an intense work and was fine with it! Yay!

No pictures today as Hubby is helping our neighbor chop corn, but they're Mennonites so that won't be working tomorrow. Maybe a little cross country school is in order?

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