My last lesson with C was in August, on her giant warmblood gelding Cole. And I've eagerly counted the days until she could meet Charlie. The main delay was the trailer: loading Charlie onto the Calico trailer was a two person job and that's just not feasible for solo travel. So the first order of business upon buying the Cotner was getting on C's lesson schedule!!
|orally fixated horse will perform for snax!!!!|
he's also not totally clear why i'm bothering him so early in the morning lol
Obviously this is all relative folks - you saw the pics and video from our dressage show, and no I'm not trying to say he morphed into Valegro the moment he stepped into the indoor at TM....
But. He did in fact go super well, tried very hard, and perfectly demonstrated to trainer C exactly what we're working with here. And naturally C had just the right kind of magic trainer dust to sprinkle on us to help Charlie perform to his very best!
dressage test video from this past weekend already know that we're not exactly digging into the meaty cerebral nuances of pure dressage yet. So our conversation to kick off the lesson sounded a bit like:
Trainer C: "What have you been working on?"
Emma: "The most basic of the basics."
Trainer C: "Ok. So is there anything in particular you want us to look at today?"
Emma: "Nope, have your way with us!"
|hangin in the wash stall mostly kinda sorta patiently! i normally tack up at the trailer but damn that rain was miserable|
Anyway. First up, and for my own personal gratification:
First Impressions of the Horse:
- Loved Charlie's expression, observing that he should develop into a very fine looking guy. Saying she expects he'll have a lot of 'presence' and that these TB geldings always mature into very handsome faces. This reminded me of Trainer P saying Charlie has the build for a very 'elegant' picture. Fingers crossed I can do it justice!
- Expects he's going to look like an entirely different horse in six months.
- Liked his brain and understood why I bought for the brain even if it doesn't come with much flash. She agreed that Charlie seems perfectly suitable for my purposes, tho also noted he's got a nice enough look to him that he would be easy to sell if we ultimately didn't mesh.
- Decided that the canter is his best gait.
|inspecting all the mirrors in the new indoor!|
For the Rider:
- My legs need to seriously loosen up. Especially that inside leg.
- Think about it hanging around loosely to bump on and off Charlie's side to keep activating his inside hind, and keep him bringing that leg up and under himself.
- Because I need to ride more forward. More. MOAR.
- Notable: she had me pick up a dressage whip partway through the ride. I usually ride with a crop but hadn't tried a whip yet (tho I carry one for ground work). I expected it to be a nonissue and Charlie agreed.
- My outside hand needs to be basically irrelevant. Plant it low near the withers and keep it there. (I imagine it behaving somewhat like a side rein - steady but neutral).
- Raise and open my inside hand (thumbs up plz!), but with reins short enough that my hand doesn't need to go drifting off into the stratosphere.
- Use circles in the short ends to establish FORWARD and BEND (forever and ever, amen), then work to hold that going down the long sides too.
|alllllll of them!! they're so much cleaner here than at our home barn haha|
- Trainer C was cool with the strategies I've been using for canter departs.
- Basically Charlie is funny about his leads. He has both, can pick both up nicely, but is occasionally sticky on one or the other (it changes).
- Often if I get the wrong one a couple times in a row, I'll just change directions so that it becomes correct. Then usually when we go for the next one it's there. We also used the h/j trainer M's idea of making half turns back to the rail to lead into the depart.
- Trainer C thought both were totally fine - but reminded me to always organize and bring the horse back to stasis before asking again if we biff it. That I shouldn't be contorting myself into a pretzel just to get the lead, bc otherwise he'll think that's what a canter depart is and I'll always have to do it like that.
- It's worth noting that by the time we got to the canter, Charlie was pretty tired and we struggled a little bit. C said tho that once you get the lead you want, don't canter around on it forever - make it quick and easy then apply praise.
|this sure beats the last picture i took in this pose, with Ms Krimpet lol|
- Basically if Charlie gets too heavy or too high in his head, he's probably not moving forward enough from his hind end.
- He's got to be able to get his shoulders up and out of the way and bring his hind legs up and under.
- Leg yields are going to be my friend for this.
- Charlie's natural inclination is to be a LOT heavier than I'm used to - we will both likely need to do some adjusting here.
- When changing directions, Charlie's allowed to take time to change bend - even if it takes a full circle, let him go gradually if he needs it. That doesn't mean 19 million circles tho haha.
- Tracking left is just plain harder - but he's basically just doing what race horses do. It'll take time but he's trying!
- Charlie's hind end gets tired pretty quickly right now.
- He trips and stumbles bc he's shuffling and not stepping under himself.
- Damn, his true working trot is a LOT bigger/faster than I've been riding it. It's maybe a little outside of my comfort zone haha. C told me to take advantage of his power forward immediately after a canter to really settle into that bigger trot.
|temporarily stall squatting bc homeboy had to pee (#racehorseproblems) and trainer C wasn't about to let him desecrate her nice footing lol|
He's a VERY different ride from Isabel tho - and in some ways much more physical. I'm gonna need a lot more core strength if I have any hope of avoiding feeling like he's pulling me down out of the saddle lol. Rather, it's supposed to feel like he pulls me down into the saddle.
Trainer C always knows how to get the best ride out of me tho (and the horses too) so hopefully we're starting on that path of building the right muscles and habits in these lessons!