Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back in the Arena

Brego got two days rest after the big hunter pace while I worked on the farm. Today, we went back to work on dressage. It's been awhile since we've done dressage and neither one of us were excited to be back in the arena. But we have to pay our dues in dressage to be balanced and obedient enough to have fun cross country.

Brego started stiff, but more forward than usual. I was sure to be very clear with my leg aids, so I didn't fall back into the nagging trap. He did very well, consider he's had a couple days off. To mix things up a bit, I worked on him just responding to my legs from sidepass to turn on the forehand to turn on the haunches to reinback to walk to shoulderin. I would change his bend or his direction every few steps which has a lightening effect on his front end. My former dressage trainer used to say that you want your horse so balanced it feels like you're perched on top of a big exercise ball: he could go any direction at any time. Brego is not quite that balanced, but he was very obedient to my leg and moved instantly in the direction I indicated.

I also concentrated on not collapsing my inside shoulder on circles which is a terrible habit I have. And miraculously, when I sat up straight, he stopped dropping his own shoulder into the circle as well. I really shouldn't be surprised when I am taught again and again by my horse that my riding is the issue, but it still amazes me that he can be at once such a sensitive creature and a giant meathead. It's all about expectations, I suppose.

We're due for a string of beautiful dry weather so his foot adhesive is off and we're gearing up for the schooling three phase on May 31. I plan to go schooling on the cross country course early next week. Tomorrow, we will be doing dressage, but I am going to ride down to the fairgrounds to the big turf arena in the parking lot and see if that gets us more excited. I do love dressage, but the rush of the hunter pace is still pounding in our hearts.


Susan Quinn said...

MY 16.3h, black Percheron mare arrived on Monday for a 1-week pre-purchase trial!!!!

SHE HAS BEEN AWESOME! She is quite sweet, gentle and intelligent (Good thing too because she is GI-NORMOUS!!!). She passed her vetting with flying colors (I was relieved that her x-rays looked good because she'd been foxhunted for most of her life...had jumped close to 4ft.!).

I'm going to be doing dressage and hacking out with her. My trainer LOVES her and says she'll do 2nd level with no problem!

I'll keep you posted!

Daun said...

I am so happy to hear your good news!! Start a blog and post pictures/videos post haste!

I want to see your girl at 2nd level and jumping 4'!!!

Susan Quinn said...

Whoa, Daun!

Just because I said SHE could jump 4 ft., doesn't mean I can!!!!
At age 56 and with my osteoporosis (and Blue Cross/Blue Shield threatening to fire me as a customer because of all my horse-related ER visits...broken pelvis,broken ribs and broken collarbone just to name a few), I am not about to tempt fate with jumping 4 ft.!

At least...not right away. :)
We'll give a week or two!

Hope I can figure out how to set up a blog. When I do, you'll be one of the first to know.

Anonymous said...

I like your trainer's analogy with the exercise ball - a good way to think about it!

Ah, dropping the inside shoulder! That's one a lot of us do, I expect. Our horses are so exquisitely sensitive to our body positions, and more often than not, we're the problem rather than the horse!

Jean said...

How nice for you to be having so much fun! Hey, even dressage can be fun, honest. *DQ here*

But those hunter paces can be addicting. Hard to get the breathless thrill out of your blood.

I can tell you have eventing blood in you for sure. I'm glad Brego agrees.

One of my favorite horses at a barn where I boarded was a Percheron mare. What a sweetie.

Susan and you are lucky to have such wonderful solid horses to ride. (uhm....I have Thoroughbreds....uhm....not exactly the same thing...*sigh*)

Wiola said...

Hello Daun, check out my post from 21st May - and have fun, you've been tagged! ;)

Susan Quinn said...

Well, it's official! I bought the Percheron mare!
She passed the vetting and every single test we through at her with flying colors! My trainer/instructor loves her and says she can do 2nd level dressage! She has been incredible in the dressage arena...we did leg yields and shoulder-ins at the trot yesterday along with trot lengthenings. Just when I don't think she can give any more, she does! And she is so lovely tempered about it...reacts to praise and is so patient!
I wish I had bought a Percheron sooner. They are incredibly wonderful horses!