Monday, November 30, 2015

Another lesson recap

Tillie and I had our third lesson with trainer P Saturday and it was a lesson filled with many things that have flooded my brain to process. So this will be my best attempt at processing...

Hey uphill trot...where have you been all my life
Tillie hacked out to the ring this time like an old pro. No jigging or dancing around at all even with a giant group in the ring doing some fun Christmas thing. It was utter chaos with bows, bells, shiny garlands and christmas decor on ponies that were running around, jumping etc. 

Tillie took it all in just fine until they started to leave and a neighbor was driving around a remote car in the field next to the ring. This to Tillie was just the scariest thing ever. So our warm up was a bit tense with some pretty hard spooks I am not used to riding. P just consoled me and said act like no big deal and dont make a fight out of it. 

Isnt she just so cute?
Left bend struggles:

She felt a bit flat at the trot and not very supple, especially to the left...I hate to say heavy because she really wasnt but she felt a bit like a lug. Usually I can have her like a rubber band and she just feels easy to manipulate. 

I struggle with her left bend because she'll start to bend at her neck not the poll or her whole body and then throw her right outside shoulder off the path so shes no longer straight, but she isnt properly using her body either. 

Homework: P prescribed homework of lots of transitions, getting her straight in the warm up, lots of turn on haunches and/or turn on the forehand and some other lateral movements in the walk to really be sure I can move all parts of her body. 

Finishing the flat warm up: Usually when she trots around like a lug her canter is a mess and she bogs down on me, but for whatever reason her canter was just lovely! Because of Tillie's tendencies to get flat and recent XC outings, I have asked P about bit options (and have been toying with them for a while) and she suggested trying a Pelham. 

P  had me switch bits to try the pelham with bit converters on it so it would be a softer adjustment for both myself and Tillie and I wouldnt have to worry about two sets of reins just yet:

I went back out and did a quick w/t/c set both directions with it on to see what Tillie thought. Right away P reminded me to just ride softer and the amazing thing was, I felt like I could. I barely needed to touch the reins and Tillie seemed much happier to respond off my seat half halt after she felt the bit a bit more. 

So on to jumping we went. 

The first warm up fence was just a trot in to a vertical to see how this bit would go. I really had to focus on soft hands and letting her take the reins with this bit so our rhythm up to the fence did change a bit, which P didnt seem to mind:

P then sent us through the same grid as last week, again really having me focus on leaving her alone and staying out of her way through the grid. 

Some the other horses in our lesson were having drifting problems (which we had our first lesson with P lol) so she set the grid with a ton more poles to help promote straightness. The conversation here got missed, but I believe the landing here is where P discussed with me about owning Tillies outside shoulder and getting her straighter to balance her when circling. We will see more of this issue in a later video.

After that it was on to warming up over some other fences before we would do the whole the course. This moment, by far, was the shining moment for me in this lesson. I got the hugest adrenaline rush from this one fence because we both just felt so in tune and like we really nailed it. 

P had us keep going to come right back and do the whole line. It could be a 4  but we did it in a 5, but what was nice it was a fairly even 5. 

We took a bit of a moment here to talk about what was good and bad and the course we would be doing. I LOVED hearing from P that I was doing a better job releasing and letting her stretch, so Tillie was jumping better because of it. WOOO!!

Stretch Tillie Stretch! 
So on to trying the entire thing, and while some of it was nice, others were not. The grid was fine and quiet, but really apparent that I am collapsing my right side and dropping left which is why Tillie isnt landing on the left lead even though we discussed trying to do this in the lesson.

Uh...rogue right hand apparently goes along with that.

But Tillie lands and does a change for me, but we lose the outside shoulder again like I mentioned earlier, so decided to circle before attempting the next part of the course. Basically I need to use more right thigh!!!

The line rode fine in a 4!! It felt like we came in a bit long and I think you can hear me sort of squeal in surprise, but it was fine and we rode out fine.


Then came time to use the half halt and I tend to be a bit dormant and not quick enough / dont get the timing right which makes us biff the next fence. Plus side is Tillie rode out of it like ok so what...whats next? 

The outside line rode very nicely again for us and that was that! 

So of course P had us try again...and some things got better while others regressed. At this point I could tell Tillie was tired from the last two days of lessons as she was a bit more backed off to fences then usual this last go. P had me think HALT after the grid portion to better balance her for the first line which got us a much better approach. 

Just because this fence and line worked out so nicely each time for us.
Unfortunately the striding to the second fence didnt really work out BUT we landed and Tillie wanted to build, I was able to use a clearer half halt to get a nice ride to the oddly angled fence. This moment is when I fell in love with the pelham because I half halted fairly lightly, but could give it back! And Tillie listened! WOOOO!! 

Then we ended with the final line again which we came in a bit tight so Tillie sorta questioned the last fence (you can see her sorta dodge left right before). 

All in all it was another good solid lesson and another page in Tillie's book for learning. I am desperate to get back to C for a long overdue dressage lesson to get our trot back on track, back the fact her trot is now erring on the side of flat and slow is a step in the right direction from the rushed million miles an hour trot.  

Tillie got a much deserved day off Sunday...which good thing, because mare came in not 100% for breakfast and really only picked at her food. Luckily, she seemed fine otherwise and was eating hay, pooing and peeing, drinking, normal gums and temp so we just kept a close eye on her and she seemed to work out of it. Nothing like stressing mommy out after a few good rides! 

Tillie says I not used to working this hard! 


  1. Hopefully she just wanted to stress you. It sounds like you two are really clicking!

  2. lolz i love that you can hear me in one of the videos saying i would have probably made a different (and arguably much worse) decision when you got the longer spot to that oxer... your choice worked out much better haha

  3. Who drives a remote control car next to riding ring?! Wtf!