Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Dressage Lesson in Ages

Oh, and were we ever rusty! But that's to be expected. Val felt pretty good, but he was stiff through his top line and locking his jaw on the right. My trainer got on him for about 10 minutes and presto-change-o, his back was swinging again and he was even in my hands when I got back on. We continued to work on asking him to come up to the outside rein, but he started locking his jaw on me again, which of course means it's something funky I'm doing him that's making him stiff.

We worked on a new exercise in shoulder-in that's very nifty. I will draw up a diagram when I have time, but a description will have to suffice for now. We would do shoulder-in down the long side from F to B, then do a trot lengthening from B to M. To sum up, shoulder-in from corner to middle letter, middle letter to opposite wall letter. My trainer says it really helps to get them to stay "together" in their lengthenings.

I also was nagging at the poor guy constantly with my heels, especially at the trot. Nag, nag, nag. My trainer "vocalizing" each nag helped me to stop, but the only way I was able to keep it from happening was to brace on my toe. I need more work on my foot position, but I did find a thought/image that helps me get my weight off the outside of my foot and more towards the inside: I imagined I was squishing a bug with my big toes! Gross, but it helped. Although that was causing my feet to want to make like flippers and stick straight out to the sides. Big sigh. With much finessing and straining, I could get my toes to point forward-ish and have my weight on my big toes. Yay! And now my heels need to go down more. Oh, the never-ending cycle!

So, my "homework" for the next few rides is:

1. Don't nag.
2. Keep him forward!
3. Re-establish bend. (We've gone from having way too much to having too little. Whoops!)
4. Make sure he's reaching forward to the contact and is even.
5. Start trying to react to what exactly he is doing and what needs fixing every day, instead of just following instructions.

Number 5 is definitely a long-term goal. The reason we went from having too much bend to having too little is because I was just following directions: asking for less bend every day, instead of realizing that Val was learning that I wanted a little less bend and was giving it. Oops!

So, lots of little things to work on. We also need to work on sitting trot if I'm going to do 1st level in the spring. I was also told that 3' jumpers is probably not quite do-able this winter; so I'll have to be happy with 2'6". I wish they had a 2'9" jumper class! Ah, well. Finally, I was informed that snow actually makes good footing, so long as there isn't ice underneath. The snowy trail-ride plan is a-go! Now we just need some snow...

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I've noticed that when I "graduated" to a slightly longer stirrup length, I began to post on my tippy toes. D'oh!

    So, that will be fixed.... soon :D