Oh, Memories…

St. Croix Dressage Show, 2013

I just discovered last week that every day, facebook tells me what “memories” I have from previous years and who these memories involve.

On this day two years ago, I wrote:

1. Dressage is really hard. By dressage I mean making my horse move off of my leg.
2. Tonight we backed up half the length of the arena. We were trying to go forward.
3. I wanted to give up about 30 seconds into this moving the haunches business, but Kt let me know that there was no way that was an option. Eventually I sucked it up and at one point sat there thinking, “I bet this is what working students do in their lessons. Every day.”
4. Cholula does not have the same pain receptors as any other normal living, breathing creature on the planet.
5. Pleading with your horse to please, please just do what we’re asking you to do SO WE CAN BE DONE doesn’t actually work.

I remember this lesson quite clearly. I was sure Cholula was going to rear. Kt assured me Cho doesn’t have it in her to rear (and thus far that has proven to be true).

Kt took my whip from me (does anyone else have security blanket issues with their whips? I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten on a horse without one in 8 years. Screw you, championship classes.) because Cho was not listening. To anything. It was hellishly frustrating.

She has more or less grown out of this. We still absolutely have these moments (BECAUSE MARE), but they don’t last an entire lesson. Currently we have these conversations about giving to the outside rein in the left lead canter. Cho feels that turning is bullshit, so she doesn’t.

Last night she felt really heavy in the bridle, which has been a bit of a theme for the past few weeks, on and off. I have really been trying to work on her transitions, and staying through and light in them. Downward tend to be the worst, but upward can get heavy as well. She’ll stick her nose out and hollow/brace through them rather than, you know, use herself properly . By the end of the session she was doing pretty well with everything I threw at her – halt/trot, trot/canter, canter/trot, walk/trot, collected trot/medium trot/collected trot. We even got some nice lengthens that didn’t completely go to hell (during or after).

The biggest thing I need to work on for ME is SWINGING MY SEAT. Cho has a trot that is very easy to sit. Because of this, I have to think about swinging and really riding the sitting trot. I can sit the trot and absorb her movement without doing this. The problem is, I’m not as loose as I should be and I block her back. This is especially true in her lateral work…if I don’t swing enough, she loses impulsion.

So, seat work is in my near future…as it really should be always. I don’t actually remember the last time I rode without stirrups. !

Count down to 2nd level debut –

Saturday – lesson
Sunday – Ride through test…try to nail down warm-up time etc
Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday…not sure. I think I will give her Thursday as a rest day, and possibly Monday as well. Friday we trailer to the show grounds, I will ride her around said show grounds, and Saturday and Sunday we will do our little song and dance.

Oh, Memories…

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