Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dressage Lesson 5

Now that Brego and I have a new understanding of forward, or at least, "move off my leg and I won't nag you to death", it was time to move on to more complex work today in my dressage lesson. It was a very challenging lesson consisting of haunches-in and leg yielding, both of which I have never really done. Needless to say, Brego was a complete neophyte as well.

We began haunches-in work at the walk and I figured out the coordination required to ask for it and what it should feel like when he offers in return. As usual, Brego is a lot smarter than I am and as soon as I could get my act together, he willingly obliged, moving his haunches to the inside. We then tried it from the trot, which I found to be even easier in some ways. I guess he tends to be balanced back better at the trot instead of his very heavy pleasure walk.

My trainer then taught me how to use haunches-in as a balancer coming out of a corner and a prelude to a canter departure, which made his departures much snappier and more energetic. At his last dressage show, both of his canters earned a "flat" comment. The biggest "lightbulb" moment was when my trainer taught me how to use a half-halt with the outside rein to help bend him properly around my inside leg, coupled with the outside leg aid for the haunches-in. Sounds confusing to my newbie ears, but it made a huge difference and I could feel it. It made his walk to trot departures even better and his canter departures not quite so icky. We still have a long way to go, but hopefully next week's dressage show will show some of this new learning.

We finished with leg yielding off the centerline. I am sure it was not even close to correct, but again the leg aid plus outside half-halt made a huge difference and I started to feel the pieces come together. Oh, and I also finally drove my trainer insane with my piano hands, so I also worked on "thumbs on top!".

Snooze alert: Mostly unedited video from the lesson.

The trace clip did not seem to help him much today during the lesson. He was still drenched with sweat at the end so I might move up to a blanket clip next week. We have a lot to do in the coming months and I don't want him worn down and getting dehydrated from excessive sweating.

And in other bright news, I found a black wool hunt coat and canary vest at a local tack shop. Oh, wonder of wonders! Hunt attire in Austin, Texas!! So I snatched both up and the hunt coat is nice enough I can wear it for low level dressage. So now all I need are white gloves and I shall be (mostly) correctly outfitted for the upcoming activities.

1 comment:

nblackthorn said...

I've enjoyed and found useful following the dressage lessons. I've even recently ordered a very elegant Dressage Coat so I'm up and running now with my equine tack!