Breaking Through

Today’s lesson was one of those “ah ha” moments where the lightbulb just goes off. I think I finally figured out what I’m doing completely wrong and why I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong: I need to give way way way more with my reins then I had been. I don’t really want to throw away the connection but compared to what I’ve been doing, yeah, that’s what it feels like to me.

After I warmed up Kristen asked if she could get on Dandy and I definitely wasn’t going to say no! First off, I really like Kristen’s style and if I had the money, I’d pay her to school him. Second, it helps me to see someone else ride my horse. Especially when it’s a good rider. She started by getting him to supple at the halt, something I had always been too nervous to do because of the panic and rearing that had followed. But she got it. And she transferred that into the walk; then the trot! Dandy had his nose on. the. ground. He was moving so nice, his back was up, and he was stepping under himself.

I have been so afraid of getting both of us frustrated that I was blocking any progress we could make. I was actually afraid we’d never pass this level. Watching Kristen work Dandy, I started thinking that maybe I could have a decent lower level dressage horse. Except for one small panic moment where he got completely blocked and went up on his back feet, he was so relaxed with Kristen. There was no anxious chewing at all.

Then it was my turn. Kristen had me follow the same progression she did: start at the halt. I suppled him to both sides ¬†and got him to really stretch. Then we moved into the walk and eventually the trot. What I’ve really got to work on his seeing where he’s blocked and using my legs to push him where I want to go. No more turning with my hands! Getting that nice supple feeling at the walk was amazing. His hind quarters was swinging and he was actually moving me in the saddle! I’ve never felt anything quite that nice and it brought his walk up to a 7. Yay! Kristen said he was stepping under himself by about six inches and she is pretty positive he can do more when we’re ready for it.

We didn’t even canter today, barely did any trot and I couldn’t care less. We made progress. I have the feeling firmly memorized and I don’t care if I have to stay at the walk for the next month if that’s what I need for us to progress.

So I think we had a breakthrough moment. I’m super excited to get back out and ride again. Between working on the half seat for Madchen and the leg and turning for Kristen, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy!