Per usual, I have all kinds of nitty gritty takeaways from the ride, and quite a bit of footage that I'm documenting for referential purposes. It's split into two videos... but still, it's a lot and I don't necessarily expect anyone to actually watch any of it - but there's instruction in there that I need to remember and continue digesting so... it's posted haha.
|trailer mate Birdie jussssssst barely fits in my Calico, thus the hat haha|
also, thanks to Jen's 1,000 Post Contest prize, we now have a full set of white brushing boots. makes us a legit dressage team now, right? lol
We rode most first level movements, except 10m circles and canter lengthenings. And we tackled the sitting trot in a big way, especially given Carly's observation that, um, Prelim A (which we're riding at a schooling show in February) must be ridden in sitting trot. Gulp.
I have a LOT of work to do in my position and balance in the saddle - particularly as it relates to being even from side to side. But it remains clear that Isabel is totally game despite my shortcomings, and that these movements are well within her ability.
It's not always very pretty or balanced right now as I sort myself out - but again and again Isabel demonstrates that she can make it happen when I do my job (and often even when I don't haha).
|pictured: not the very prettiest trot lengthening ever, but it's definitely in there|
For the feature length version, read on :)
Part 1: Warm Up & Trot Work
- Ride the outside shoulder - making the outside of Isabel's body longer than the inside. Turn from outside shoulder, pushing her away from inside leg to bow body out and away. Keep inside rein open, with a 'wiggle wiggle' action on outside rein.
- My elbows must be mobile - create an 'open' feel not 'backwards' feel.
- Stretchy trot (1:45) - soften and round her back to help her loosen up, esp after not working for a while. Tap inside leg to ask her back to lift. Don't slip reins, instead have more mobile arms (a theme).
|loosen that back, mare!|
- Post evenly from both hips; a deliberate up-down post, not just shuffling forward and back (2:50). My right hip has more of a 'kick' and comes back further than my left. Needs work.
- Think of pointing torso towards inside of circle (3:45) and bringing my inside shoulder back.
- When Isabel does drop her head down, give more rein so she can open her throat latch and not curl under.
- Leg yields from quarter line to rail to warm up (around 5:00; 5:45; 6:10) - post straight ahead, don't get crooked and uneven. Keep equal weight in both sides. Immediately upon reaching the wall, close outside thigh to turn into 15m circle.
Part 2: Sitting Trot & Canter / Counter Canter
- Remember to think about softness to the inside rein. Use my post to get more trot - but not big long and flat trot, I want more 'up and down' trot (0:50) and to feel the moment of 'pause in the air' in Isabel's shoulders.
- Sitting trot (snort) - instruction for it from 2:15-4:00. I need to think about pushing down into my big toes in the stirrups every stride; making little 'J's with my seat bones. I also need to remember to keep my chin up and lengthen the front of my body. Trainer C says I have to 'move more to move less.'
|sitting trot needs a lot of work, but there are good moments in there|
- My seat bones should make the same "J" movement at canter as they do in sitting trot. "Control the size of the J" to control the size of the canter.
- Counter canter loop M-X-F at 5:00; K-X-H at 5:20. Keep it small through first portion to better balance through second half of loop, the harder half when Isabel is more likely to break.
- Canter-trot transition at X at 5:40 - I'm mostly happy with our balance through these transitions so far.
|feeling good about the balance of our canter, for the most part (also, plz to shorten reins emma!)|
- Our first trot lengthening is at 6:05 - and it was kinda a mess, but oh well. We're out of shape... She wanted us to really go for it, tho I need to not throw my reins away and keep us better balanced.
- More sitting trot at 6:50 - I need to think of pointing pelvis towards ceiling and sitting back more. And bring hands closer together.
- Left lead canter transition at 7:45 (these transitions are actually pretty good from the sitting trot), then loops H-X-K and F-X-M, then canter-trot transition at X.
|first lengthening was a little wild and wooly haha|
- My reins must be shorter. C says to err on the side of too short rather than too long.
- Don't think of 'hold' when sitting the trot, think 'send' instead.
- Second trot lengthening 8:55, not quite as big as first but more balanced (except, damn I can not sit that, nope, no how no way). This lengthening is plenty for a test.
|second lengthening was better, tho more conservative|
- Leg yields from center line to rail in sitting trot 9:30 - this was kinda another shit show...
- I need to do a better job turning onto the center line FIRST through the shoulders before beginning leg yield, otherwise we kinda end up just riding a diagonal.
- I also need to use more outside aids and less inside rein. Make sure my elbows don't lock either, and that I don't throw my outside rein away. I must ride Isabel straight over her outside shoulder.
Phew.... ok I think that's more than enough information overload for now haha. Virtual cookies if you made it this far ;)
But damn, I am LOVING riding with C more frequently - this lesson marked our fourth in January alone, and hopefully we'll stick with the weekly schedule through the winter.
It just kinda blows my mind watching Isabel in the videos - she looks so steady and willing in her work, even when I'm bouncing around doing god-knows-what in the saddle, or concentrating super hard on anything *but* what she's doing.
Actually, for a comparison - check out the video of us riding a BN test in this post, where we're all aboard the curled-under hot mess express. The biggest difference between then and now is really in just how *rideable* Isabel feels - esp her balance both laterally and longitudinally. We still need a lot of work, but just watching that video and remembering how shitty I felt about that ride makes me feel really good about where we are now.
Now we just need the weather to hold for the schooling show plans lol. Not to tempt fate or anything... ;)