Thursday, May 30, 2024

puttin' on the ritz

It isn't exactly ideal to ship out for lessons two days in a row... But then again, it was also quite convenient not having to unpack the trailer in the rain after our jump lesson with Sally, knowing we'd be going right back out again the next day to see dressage trainer C!

the countdown til the move is on, but in the meantime -- we're fitting in lots of adventures with our favorite barn mates!! this time = dressage lessons with Amy + Punky!!
Amy and I have had this lesson on the books for a few weeks now, and we were both pretty excited. And ya know, now that the cat is out of the bag re: moving my horses to new barns in the next couple weeks, it feels important to soak up as much fun with my best barn friends while we're all still housed under the same roof.

mare showed up for our turn too!
Doozy was an absolute super star waiting for our turn, including loading politely back on the trailer without the aid of a second human during a brief rain shower. We've been getting more serious about stripping away reliance on external help for loading, given the impending change in circumstances, and so far so good. 

insert random flashback to the horse i bought in August 2023
Then the sun came out, and Amy and Trainer C moved to the outdoor to finish the lesson with a little test riding. So Doozy and I meandered over to hand graze until our turn. Good mare.

it never looks how it feels, not gonna lie
Admittedly, once it was our turn, Doozy lit up a little bit, as is her way... I gave Trainer C the rundown on our last month of work -- namely that it was mostly downtime, but that we'd been working on homework since picking back up about a week ago. And that it was going really well!

her moments of bracing+racing look... honestly pretty mild to the camera
So Trainer C opted to guide us through a continuation of progressive exercises aimed at bringing Doozy into better balance and posture. We basically did two main big stints of work -- one of which is captured almost entirely in the video below. One direction per stint, tho, so if you're confused as to why we're tracking left in all these photos, it's bc that's what we have on video.

tho, obvi haha... not every moment looks quite so lovely either LOL
We started with some work on spiraling, with Trainer C reminding me to be really precise on my outside aids in the work. In other words, now that we've established bend to the inside, with a neutral consistent outside rein, it's time to stabilize the outside aids even more -- and reintroduce staying straight on the outside aids. 

she's definitely figuring it out tho
As we spiraled in to a smaller 15m circle, she reminded me to keep ourselves equidistant all the way around from where she stood stationary on the center. Then, very gently, feeling like I could actually counter bend at any moment (so as to not "fall" out), start pushing with a leg yield feeling back to the full 20m circle.
we're both focusing so hard here haha
We repeated this a few times, then would find a good moment to leave the circle and continue travling straight down the quarter line, aiming to slowly, oh-so-slowly, leg yield back to the rail. 

mare can walk tho
It's crazy watching the video bc it felt like Doozy wanted to Blast Off! into trot as soon as we hit the straight line. Felt like we were jusssst barely contained. But ya know. Doesn't really look it. Go figure lol. 

not quiiiiite so sure about the lateral stuff yet tho LOL
Tho Trainer C definitely saw it, and worked on coaching us into containing all that forward energy. We'd get into one end of the ring, do a circle or two to again establish straightness on the outside aids, and then come down the quarter line for a leg yield. 

Tho, given Doozy's proclivity for zipping on down the line, Trainer C instructed us to come down to walk half way through the leg yield -- but while still actively moving laterally -- and then pick up the trot again.

honestly can't wait until we have enough tools to properly channel this trot tho
I'm not gonna lie, this was really hard work. Doozy is without a doubt the hardest horse I've ridden, it feels like every single step takes careful management. Tho, interestingly enough, it really doesn't look it in the video LOL. But I was absolutely puffed after a bit of this work in each direction. 

in time, tho, all in good time
A couple times Doozy wanted to blast off into canter, as she does, but Trainer C more or less said she wouldn't let her call the shots at this point. The mare knows enough now to start learning how to cope better with being "contained." Yes yes, the running is fun. But ya know. Sometimes ya gotta earn it!

After repeating the whole series of exercises tracking right, we finished the ride with just a few short repetitions of a figure-8, mostly to give Doozy a chance to confirm that she learned the lesson of the day. And she did, good girl!!

she's getting quite good at traveling tho!
Watching the video is useful for helping me understand both some points of homework, but also areas where we're getting stronger. An exciting feeling! Homework includes continuing to work on sitting more on my left side, particularly while tracking left (a particular weakness of mine), and continuing to stabilize and lower that outside hand. And continuing to try to keep a lively nuanced touch to the contact, vs a dead hold. 

Areas of strength, tho? Doozy is developing rhythm! Sorta! Like we might *almost* be ready to try playing with the metronome again! I also feel like I'm seeing some improvements in my rider posture, or at least fewer obvious asymmetries. 

Plenty more to do, as always LOL. But feels like progress. We'll take it!! And we'll definitely be back for more, regardless of barn moves!!


  1. You guys look great!! Before reading your last comments I was thinking that you'd been able to find some of that rhythm again. And also some softness in the downwards transitions! The note about being able to counter ned at any moment while spiraling out is so helpful. I'm going to use that same exercise.

    1. thanks yea definitely a super productive lesson and set of exercises! it's so crazy how once the mare understands an exercise, she just sorta... gets it haha. can't wait for her to get there with the trotting. i was honestly kinda surprised with how... "normal" it looks on the video, bc it feels very very wild and woolly..

  2. I absolutely cannot believe you've had her almost a year already!!

    1. omg right? it's wild to think about it, still feels so new for the under saddle stuff...

  3. That second photo up there! Wow!
    I didn't watch all of the video because I have a very short attention span... But there are some really great moments in there. That trot is going to be AMAZING once she learns where all the parts and go and how to contain the zoomies. You're doing a great job, she is sensitive and that's the hardest to ride in my opinion. I hope you'll be able to keep lessoning with Trainer C after your move.

  4. She’s really coming together. I love the comment from the trainer about her learning to be contained. I’m so guilty of letting things go because of when they didn’t know better.

  5. Lessons are always fun. They make me ride better and also make me realize how terrible I am. lol. Good luck with the barn moving. I haven't done it in a while but I do have mine at two different barns and each occasionally gets shafted in favor of more time with the other.


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