Last night was my last lesson until the new year I do believe, although if there is a chance for a lesson between Christmas and Hogmany I will take it! I am riding on Christmas Eve for a 2 hour hack as last year it was lovely. There were only two of us last year and it was only meant to be a hour (we were a little longer) and I rode N, the horse who sadly passed away this year. It was a cold day and N was on great form, flying along in the canter and really enjoying himself. It is how I think I will remember him, an old horse but with the spirit of a young one – a schoolmaster but who still surprised me. In one lesson he jumped a drainage ditch and in another he decided we should do a 20 metre circle even though I hadn’t asked for one.So after the fun of last year and my fond memories of N I am hoping this year will be just as much fun.
So back to last night, just a quick update this time and as per usual because it is my private lesson we worked on my position on the horse. But interestingly (well interesting to me :)) we have started to work on me “feeling” what is right and wrong, with my instructor confirm or correcting me. SHe also wants me to understand the differences in the paces and how to work out myself when the horse is fully responding to me, softening in my hands and feeling for correct bend. It is good fun but I do feel I am quite “wahey, got that….oh wait I’ve lost it…oh got is again…oh wait”but I guess I am just working through having shorter times of losing it!
I was riding Td again last night, trying to angle to get him for the hack but I would be really happy with Tx as well.It was pretty windy and raining lightly but insistently throughout my lesson meaning I sometimes had to halt to speak to my instructor. Td does not like halt, it is almost as though he thinks he is permanently late for a meeting. Anyway, we did lots of work on transitions again with my instructor getting me to focus on understanding the transition I am looking for especially between walk and trot. Td started to respond after oh about 3 transitions – after that we were working on me getting him in the correct bend. I had the obligatory unexpected canter with Td but I got praise for it this week as my instructor was happy he was so eager and responsive to me. I slowed him to trot immediately but it was good to know he was listening to me.
We did a lot of circle work, working on me steering Td with my body and legs much more. My instructor focused on me working out what was going wrong and why then trying to correct before she stepped in to help me. I think we did okay, I seem to be able to do my first half of my circles pretty well then lose it in the second half but working on planning in my head more especially on the final quarter started to give me more of a circle shape – I have no idea what on earth you would call the other shape, kind of looked like a weeble!
Not so good on our leg yielding this week. We just weren’t getting it at all – I say we but I mean me of course. That’s a bit frustrating as I thought that was pretty good last week. Oh well, swings and roundabouts.
Then the canter work. This week my instructor set about on getting me “more involved”, clearly showing I am often just a passenger in the canter – I kind of knew this but hey. To help me with this we worked on shorter, more powerful canter between points in the school with me riding him forward into the trot rather than feeling like he applies the brakes strongly, then we picked up canter again shortly afterwards to ensure he was still listening to me. Well I missed on the first go, better on the second and on the third the downward transition definitely felt smoother although I was told I wasn’t sitting into the canter enough. Onto the other rein and we did improve again. I felt a nice smooth downward transition when I asked for it, we trotted with momentum and whether I asked for walk or canter the trot felt good enough to pick up canter again. I was quite pleased with that. Td was very pleased with himself and decided that he had definitely earned his rest, during the cool down I actually ended up hopping off and leading him round the school as he kept hopefully stopping on the centre line where we normally stop at the end of lessons.
My instructor mentioned that my confidence and positioning are improving with these extra lessons, which I am pleased about but next year there will be new challenges including a cross-country jump course, the dressage competition and …… well the final challenge is something I haven’t mentioned on this blog yet in case it doesn’t happen but I will keep you updated!
All in all though I had a really nice lesson and I am definitely growing more and more attached to Td. I don’t often post pictures but since it is nearly Christmas here is one of Td, you got to love his fringe, it is like he styles it.