Dressage trainer C is the best. Seriously, I have learned so much from him in such a short time. I swear if I could do regular weekly lessons I’d be a dressage queen in no time! But I was especially happy to see him last Saturday because Gus Gus was being a real pain in the butt. When we were warming up, he was using every little noise and disturbance as an exuse.
I was so thankful to see C walking down the path to the dressage ring.
“For the first time since I’ve gotten him, I feel like I have an ex racehorse under me,” I told C. “He is up and not listening.”
So C put me on the circle at a posting trot and told me to lengthen my reins. This is unusual because I tend to ride with my reins really long as it is. But I did as asked and lengthened them a few inches. Again, C told me to lengthen my reins. I did. A second later, lengthen them again. This kept going until I had my hands all the way down to the buckle. Gus immediately stuck his nose to the ground and lifted over his back, he also got more rhythmic in his trot.
“Are you scared to be on him?” C asked.
“No,” I replied, surprised at how honest that really was. Even in our warm-up, the few times that Gus had gone to a faster gait, aka the canter, it was so slow and steady. I have never been afraid of this horse doing anything scary.
“Then let up on the death grip and let him relax a bit.”
Saturday was one of the tougher lessons I’ve had in a while. We worked on basic building blocks, always the bane of my existence. Gus really wanted to evade the leg and had some very creative answers. We did a lot of spiraling on a circle, a lot of leg yields.
We also did a lot of work on me. I know you’re supposed to turn your body and look where you were going, but apparently I wasn’t turning my body enough when approaching the rail again on a circle. All these years I’ve felt like I couldn’t get Dandy or Gus to turn smoothly back onto the wall… and it disappeared when I just kept turning my body.
Second lightbulb moment.
I like have these moments where simple things just click and make everything else so much easier. It was amazing how easily Gus was able to make a nice circle once I started riding correctly!