Woah, I am out of shape! These past two lessons I’ve had are really kicking my butt.
The first exercise we did were just your basic trot poles. How long has it been since we did trot poles? Um. I don’t think I can answer that without feeling totally embarrassed that I’ve been skipping the basics. So anyway, I had two goals while going through the poles. The first was straightness. As JLE noticed right away, and I’ve lamented about in the past, Dandy has a natural right drift. Not ideal. I did my best to keep my right leg on and opened my left rein to encourage him to keep straight. It was hard. Making it harder was my second goal: rhythm. I had to not only keep my posting rhythm the same as Dandy wanted to rush through the poles, I had to apply the appropriate half-halts to keep him focused.
Once we had gone through both ways fairly decently, we moved on to canter poles. Another exercise I’ve neglected. Dandy and I are having a really really hard time getting the correct lead on the canter lately, that is if we get the transition at all. It makes me a little nervous for our dressage test… Once we did manage to get the correct lead we did the canter poles. It was, once again, hard work to keep him straight and not rushing through them.
Finally JLE put one of the poles into a vertical. Things went much better once that happened. After a few times through (working on our straightness all the time), JLE put up a second vertical so we had a canter pole – vertical – one stride (with a canter pole) to a vertical – canter pole. Dandy was being really good about being adjustable between the jumps but I have to watch myself as I was opening up my body too quickly and making him rub the rail with his back feet. To end things JLE added one more one stride to a vertical. When Dandy saw this he really wanted to back off from the grid (we have had issues with them in the past) but I kept my leg on and give him some verbal encouragement. After the second jump he wanted to fly! But with a half halt and a “ho,” Dandy came back and jumped the last one nicely. I was so proud of him. He was really patting the ground and going nicely.
I am looking forward to our next lesson but I could do without this heat! It was 88 degrees when I got off Dandy! I do not do well with this heat. I also need to start cross training a little more aggressively. My core is not what it should be. Maybe if I just start once a week I can work up to this.