Thursday, August 25, 2016

Upping the Game

Since this last weekend, I am still riding the excitement of nailing the Training Level course at Waredaca. It gave me the confidence boost I needed to know we can do it and that stepping out of my comfort zone is starting to pay off...and its starting to feel a little more comfortable and not so out of the safe-box. 
Rocking the B element of a bending line
I chose to give Tillie both Monday and Tuesday off as a reward...and myself for that matter. I dreaded what I would get yesterday when I finally hopped back on her. At least it was dressage day with my favorite dressage trainer, C, and was hoping Tillie would showcase some of her less than stellar behavior we can sometimes get at shows so C could walk me through how to handle it.

Tillie usually shows up for C lessons all business and ready to work...which is GREAT but I would like the help on how to ride her when she starts testing me or is hyped up.

Like when she sees her friends and wants to gallop out to them

Sure enough, as soon as I got on her, I could tell we had some defensiveness last lesson with C went quite well but we established the need to re-treat Tillie for ulcers. After putting her on a 5-day test with Ulcer Guard tubes...she was a different, much softer horse. 

I of course ran out on Sunday morning so the ducking behind the contact was back. That is not an answer I have missed miss Tillie.

A good moment towards the end of our lesson
When Tillie gets like this its a little bit like she tests me...or as C puts it: "Im not touching you...." in the most annoying, goading voice ever. Its hard for me not to get frustrated, but C reassured me and coached me into being patient. Rather than using the quicker half halts we normally need, use longer and slower ones to promote her elongating and going into the contact. 

This ride was a lot more about getting her more honest in the bridle and more consistent even if it meant letting her get a bit lower in the poll to allow her to lift her whither, THEN let her come up...the trick being to let her do it so it was her carrying herself over me helping her. 

Like this wonderful moment in the canter

Another thing that C had me doing much more this lesson was dropping my hands realllllly low almost thinking of them as side reins. The hard part for me is keeping them there and still...I am not sure what it is, but my inside hand especially, "jiggle wiggles." C will correct me and tell me not to, but its not an intentional movement...She suggested thinking of keeping my elbows touching my shirt a bit more. 

Either way, its an issue that frustrates me...anything bodily or physically related is tough. Its like rubbing your stomach and patting your head while riding a horse. I know what I need to do, but getting my body to respond properly is a whole different animal. 

My position has come a long way since fall last year too...but its a never ending battle

 C basically told me we need to up the difficulty level for Tillie. Its time to start expecting more. Let her do more of the work and be very black and white with her where I expect her to be.

Think of her like an accordion; you should be able to elongate her neck and body and then package it back together again at any given time.

^^The above is what we are striving for more and more so that when I let my reins go a bit longer, Tillie should be following it and seeking it more. This requires getting her to unlock at the base of her neck which has always been a challenge...Tillie likes to stay in one place in her box. Getting her to trust herself or balance outside of that can be a bit hard to convince her.

Just re-ordered these again...
 Tillie does try hard though and when she figures out the rules, she does dig in and gets to work. While I never felt like our trot work felt phenomenal yesterday in our lesson...Our canter work shockingly felt hugely improved. It was a pleasant surprise considering and I expected it to be terrible with her inconsistency in the trot.

But we had some really nice moments of her giving me her back. A few times she broke into the trot in a honest mistake, but C was happy with that and said it was a matter of her learning to trust she can carry it.

Like when we first had to get her to trust lengthening her stride in the trot
So I know we will get wasnt the most confidence instilling ride, but I left knowing what we need to work on and that the ulcer meds are definitely needed. So first thing am they are ordered and hopefully here by the end of the week.


  1. How did you get the Abguard? I want to order some, but they keep asking for my bank account information, which is not something I'm comfortable giving an internet company.

    1. I ordered it through Alber...I havent had an issue with their payment processing or anything in the past. This will be my 4th time buying products through them.

  2. That corner is no joke!!! Solid work. Also, I feel you on the position struggle.

  3. I've heard the accordian thing before - its a pretty useful tool to make you really consider how you ride your horse.

  4. I think Mr. Henry needs another round of ulcer treatment, goodbye monies! Tillie looks super :D