Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When you have that ride you really needed to have

As you all know, Tillie and I are competing a ton this year and doing alllll the events. After the last 2 years of being sidelined, I made it my goal this year to do all the things (obviously gauging Tillie and how she is doing). With all the events we have been doing, I have entered in a new world of learning...

The difference in test riding versus schooling and also the effect shows have on your horse.

Got our ribbon from Plantation HT!! 
Test riding you basically have to get it done and right in that moment. There is no oh wait, lets circle and get a better trot before I ask for canter...there is only ok well this is the trot I have and we have to canter now. It also means sometimes helping your horse out when you normally wouldnt at home in a training ride to quite literally squeak by on a movement.

How not to squeak in a movement
I had a dressage lesson with C yesterday...thank god!! and was telling her how I feel like our flat work has regressed lately and I am a bit frustrated by it. Our canter work is improving, but it seems like our walk and trot work has slipped back to some of her antics and generally just not feeling as consistent there.

C laughed and said not to worry!! What I was feeling is basically a result from all the showing and that "get it done" riding that happens there can sometimes mean training may take a few hits. Basically we are trying to teach our horse to do more self carriage and schooling at home doing all different levels, even harder, but we get in the dressage ring and we may have to help our horse out more or do some things we otherwise wouldnt do at home.

Makes sense...and my next questions was, well should I back off the shows then?

Going all the places

C said no...based on what she was seeing in our lesson it was nothing to stress or worry about. She actually felt the more we show, the more it will help us A) work through show day stresses and B) Get better at improvising in test riding for more correct and accurate riding - basically start trying to ride more correctly at shows and stop helping the damn horse.

Which she laughed and said Tillie is telling you she doesnt need it! I am still riding her like a green horse when she no longer is.

Yea mom, I got this!

So we started out warming up just showing her some of the inconsistencies I was feeling...surprise surprise (NOT) they are due to me over riding her and riding her like a baby when she doesnt need all that. Leg asks for the bend, my hands need to be suppling and that is IT - no more using my reins as much for bend. I need to keep my hands lower and closer together. No more high/wide hands which also makes her look way more downhill.

C then said she wants us to try to break through the cycle of me helping her soooo much and we did that by doing transitions within the gaits in the walk and trot. C was super excited with how large her trot extensions got and said they were definitely the best shes seen in her shoulder to date!

Not current, but yay lengthenings! 
We also did the same in canter, really focusing on my seat and finding a happy medium (I either lean too far back or perch and sit too forward on my pelvis). C had me think about my knees coming on and off and using my seat more over my hands to control the tempo.

We also established a stronger outside rein half halt to help back Tillie off when she starts to bogg down and get too low/heavy but then following her when she does soften. KEY: Bend the elbows!

What happens when im too straight in my arms...stiff!!!
C then said she wanted us practicing more sitting trot and that would be the key to helping Tillie get more up hill since it would force me to work on my seat and opening my hip angle properly. So that we did and her canter transitions from sitting trot were on point (when I go with her that is and not get left behind!).

Again in canter, she wants me to think still in my hands and keep them low and together with BENT elbows.

By the end of the lesson it was soooo much better...and exactly the ride I needed to feel like our dressage is getting back on track.


  1. Yay! I love that feeling after a really good lesson. :)

  2. Man lessons with C really are just the best!

  3. I keep my arms too straight too!!

  4. I love that good feeling after a productive lesson! I suffer from straight arm syndrome also :P