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).