Brego and I had our final dressage lesson before the show on September 15th. He did really well, of course. Turns out the boy has some talent. If only his rider would get on board!
The big theme today was outside rein and how much I don't use it to support him. We spent some time at the beginning just getting him warmed up and going round. He was out of work this week due to rain so we needed some remedial "get off my leg!!" moments. My trainer was very patient though so after some good tips, we moved on to practicing the test I will ride in a couple of weeks.
The first run through was pretty poor. I couldn't get the left lead until two letters too late. And I had trouble with my corners. But we broke it down movement by movement and my trainer helped me understand how it should be ridden. It was very informative.
For some time, I had used his "draftiness" as an excuse for him being heavy and unable to turn. One of the big lightbulb moments I had today was that I was the reason he was struggling to turn. When I fixed my outside rein and got my weight balanced, he had a really nice canter departure and could easily canter a 20m circle. So the pressure is on me to fix my riding. Sure, he'll never be as light as Merlin, but he's certainly capable of much more. If you ride your horse like he won't make the movements, then he definitely won't. If you ride your horse to help him make the movements (or at least, get out of his freakin' way), he will really surprise you.
So it was an excellent lesson, but pretty tiring, so I am going to let the pictures and videos speak for themselves. I know what I need to focus on the next couple of weeks (outside rein, more impulsion, NO CLUCKING), but the good news is that Brego just gets better and better.
Trotting - Working on him softening down
More successful trot
Trying to soften through a downward transition
And we're finished