Sunday, May 24, 2015

show day + dressage lesson recap

Today is show day at Loch Moy - so freakin exciting!!! Thank you so much to everyone for all your wishes of good luck - it's been very encouraging! Our dressage is at 8:30am, with jumping around 11:15ish. So it's likely that we'll actually be finished by the time you read this. Hopefully I'll have good things to report back - and will post a quick-n-dirty update tomorrow. Squee!!!!

For the sake of documentation, today's goal is simple: finish with a number not a letter. It's our first time at BN and I'll be ok with a couple green moments. And, of course, the water remains an iffy proposition. This is expected to be a fairly competitive event too, with 93 total BN riders (15 in my split). So. I just want to complete and have a good time while doing so.

'does this fly mask make me look excited?' - isabel
In the meantime, here are details from a dressage lesson with C at TM earlier this week. 

C was actually still riding when I arrived, which turned out to be perfect since I was a couple minutes late anyway. Plus it was neat watching her ride (and only moderately creepy that I tried snapping covert pics... too bad they all came out blurry). It's funny - Isabel is such a misfit at this barn. Everything is about 8 stories tall, and so so soooo fancy (and pretty much all warmbloods, obvi) - and then here comes petite little Izamonster ready to give them all a run for their money. It's pretty cute lol.

Izzy settled right in and we warmed up walking and trotting large around the arena with frequent 20m circles at A, E, C, and B. While trotting we talked about the 'inside bend' issue and C built on what Dan had me do. She actually did encourage me to open the inside rein a little bit, whereas Dan wanted it completely neutral. I suspect his has to do with me being so green to dressage and giving me the 'easy' way first. 

But even so - the tidbit about keeping that inside leg forward and thinking about moving the shoulders really resonated throughout this entire lesson. And C really wanted me thinking about the outside rein and keeping contact there - with elbow stablized at my side. She also said not to 'wrap' my inside leg around Isabel (which is how it ends up all curled up and ineffective) - she wanted me pushing it straight down - more 'drape' than 'wrap.'

We did lots of circles and serpentines to commit the feeling to memory. Interestingly, while working on this we found that Isabel was actually tighter going to the left today than going to the right - very unusual for her. She was very willing to bend right (to the point that I had to be careful not to overbend her) - but the left was kinda not as easy. 

So C had me turn left up the quarter line, leg yield right to the wall (and I could actually DO it {sorta} now that I know to think of the shoulders first haha), then immediately turn left into a 15m circle. We did this a few times and it helped loosen the mare up a little. I was a little worried that the stiffness originated from her LF heel where she clipped herself jumping the other day... But she worked out of it fortunately.

isabel enjoys hangin her head out the doorway - the farm is so pretty!
We did a canter transition in each direction - trotting up the long side, picking up the canter in a corner then immediately circling 20m at A or C (wherever we were), then going large again to come back down to trot. The upwards were ok in the lesson - C said maybe 6s, so better for us - and the downwards were really actually pretty good when I remembered to squeeze my thighs. Plus C said I was sitting better in the canter. We'll see if I can hang on to that feeling!

Then it was on to test time! I'm riding BN-B today and the lesson was my first time running through it. First I recited to test to C and we talked a little strategy. In particular - that trotting diagonal HXF that immediately leads to the right lead canter depart between F and A and 20m circle at A. 

doesn't that hill look ripe for a gallop? isabel thinks so!
C recommended that I go as far left as possible at F, and do NOT bury the horse in the corner. Then start the corner first before getting the canter depart - since there really is plenty of room before A. Her point was to avoid throwing Isabel off balance by cantering first then running her through the turn. And we actually went back and practiced this a few extra times to try and get the right timing. As always, it is imperative that I - no rushing! 

Her other recommendation in the test was about the final walk to trot transition at K before the left turn down the center line. She suggested that I start the transition a little early to ensure we were properly prepared for the corner and subsequent center line turn. C really focuses on these center line turns - which I've ignored in the past. But I guess it makes sense - and I certainly can't argue after getting an 8 on my last test, a direct result of my lessons with C!

poor isabel is back on the muzzle struggle bus... sad pony!
So I feel pretty good about things going into the show. C noted that Isabel shows remarkable improvement every time we go for a lesson - and this was only our third lesson with her. It just makes me feel so lucky to ride a horse like this! It's like as soon as Isabel figures something out it's just suddenly a thing she can do, nbd. All I have to do is ride to the best of my abilities and she will take care of the rest :)


  1. Good luck today! Can't wait to read the update!

  2. Sounds like a great lesson! Good luck :)

    1. it was a great lesson - what this trainer has been able to do for us in just 3 lessons is unreal!


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