Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dressage Lesson 9

New state, new trainer, almost 4 months off from serious work. Our last dressage lesson with me riding Brego was February 17, 2008! Yea, it was one of those kind of lessons. It was warm and sunny and I had to wake Brego from a nap to get him ready to walk next door to our neighbor's outdoor arena.

Needless to say, he was behind my leg perpetually, which weakened my position as I nagged, nagged, nagged. I am always hesitant to get after Brego in front of a new trainer. So instead of popping him like I should have to reinforce my leg aid, I nagged, which made me slump and draw my leg back.

Additionally, this lesson proved that Brego, in all his fat glory, if fitter than I. I was huffing and puffing after the canters. Brego, aside from looking lazy and slow, looked like he was trailing, not really stepping through. He's definitely weaker than last season. But it's hard to get serious about his movement when he wasn't really trying.

Ok, now on to the good. Brego was sound, sound, sound. He was well behaved and it looked like his left hip was moving well. His left canter was not a complete disaster and he only broke gait when I screwed up.

The best part is that I LOVE my neighbor/trainer. We agree on many philosophical points, she's definitely way above my level. She normally teaches big clinics down in Mass, so I am sure she was having to dumb down a lot of her instruction. But she was still positive and as quick to praise both me and Brego as to correct. It's funny, but I am not used to instructors praising me, just the horse. It was weird to hear a "Good girl!" come out of her.

My biggest challenge in dressage is that I lack the coordination to be consistent with my aids. My neighbor/trainer would ask me to do something and I would understand her, but it took way too long for me to coordinate all my aids, execute, and then release. So definite room to improve there.

Edited: Now the video has sound! Sorry about the technical mixup.

I learned a ton during the lesson, mostly about my largely non-existent outside rein. I have been so focused on the inside bend that I just leave the door wide open for him to evade outside. He does it on transitions and especially at the canter so he can run around haunches in which is easier for him. All because of my training, so now that I am on to him, we can work on it.

Anyway, I feel so lucky and grateful to have the amazing luck to move in next door to an excellent trainer. She is also way too generous. I asked her how much for the lesson and when she told me, I laughed, doubled it and it was still the cheapest private lesson I have ever taken.

Back in training, I feel like we have a purpose. When I finally admitted I was not going to shoot for nationals, or even regional championships, we lost some long term goals to work towards, you know, beside surviving the year of transition on the farm. Now I have this amazing resource right next door. There's so much we can work on, without the pressure of big money shows. We'll take time out for school show just to get an outing, but I can funnel my very limited money into lessons. I am inspired!!

P.S., only one more month until my neighbor's jump field will be ready!! We're also talking about building some arena jumps (she also used to event).


Anonymous said...

Look at Sir Brego!! Gosh I love him. <3

The first thing I noticed was after the canter-to-trot near the end of the video, Brego looked like he wanted a stretch down. Stretch side to side, then he'll come down for long and low. I found that when out of normal work, Clyde loves to stretch down after a good canter(or gallop, whatever). Maybe that's Brego's ticket too?

I read in... 'Dressage Formula' [Edit: Maybe Elements of Dressage?], I believe, about 'fixing the fore to the hind', and how this was elementary in dressage--funny, I'd never heard of it before. But his reasoning was that by adjusting the forehand to the haunches (asking him to move his shoulders to the inside track where his hindquarters are, instead of asking him to move his haunches over) follows the 'riding the horse back-to-front' mentality. I'll have to find it in the book, but it was something that really stuck with me. Just thought I'd offer that over! :)

Man, before I started reading your blog, if someone told me a draft could canter like that, I'd of laughed. ;)

Yay for having a purpose! I too lag behind on just about everything if I don't have a clear goal ahead of me. You're so lucky to have such an awesome trainer so close!

More videos! :D

Bev said...

You both look good after your moratorium from training. Would you allow us to hear the audio next time? I very much like a trainer who uses body english in their explanations and find it helpful to hear what is being said while I watch. Are Hobby and your SO going to train with her as well?

I watch lessons whenever given the opportunity. I recently spent 4 days watching lessons all day long at a clinic for eventers held at the Carolina Horse Park. ) It was great and I loved every minute.

Daun said...

Oops sorry about that. The video has been updated to include sound. It's been so long since I have posted video, I forgot how to do it. :(

You are freakin' me out! That is EXACTLY what we worked on, and almost verbatim what my trainer said to me. And you gleaned that without the audio. Unbelievable. You are a genius!

More videos will come when we are both back in shape. I looked at videos from shows from last year and we have a ways to go to get back there. But it's Spring!

Funder said...

I know exactly what you mean about coordination!

Anonymous said...

Haha!! That's funny! Sometimes I get lucky ;)

I can't wait to see you guys as the season goes on! I am super jealous of you and your closeness to a trainer (if you couldn't guess already.) :P

Julia said...

Gorgeous! His canter flows so nicely, and although you found him a bit lazy he looked great on tape!

I love the idea of having a video from the beginning of the season which you can use to compare in six months!

Erin said...

This is random, but how tall are you, Daun? :)

Erin said...

Also, great video, Brego looks light in his canter...seems very comfortable!

Daun said...

Erin, I am 5'9".

Please don't ask my weight... :)