You know the lesson cost was worth it when in just 45 minutes the trainer can get you and your horse from this: to this: The new dressage trainer, C, is fabulous. He has a lot of experience working with off track thoroughbreds and is a GP rider himself. Right away he could tell that Gus was something special (so he immediately earned major brownie points, lol), could pick out my hunter training, and told me I had a “hot seat.” This is something every trainer I’ve ever had has told me but never within the first five minutes. It was kind of like a “woah, you really know what you’re talking about!” moment. I don’t know why, but it made me feel very comfortable.
Anyway, the only thing we worked on this lesson was suppling in the neck. It’s hard to be a normal adult horse if you want Gus’ opinion! He was not pleased.
One thing that C told me is that right now, I need to forget everything about keeping my circles the right size, or worry about his toe tapping or his head tossing. All I should focus on at the moment is the suppling and me giving to reward that. Even my leg should be super quiet and off his side (except at the canter). Right now, Gus can’t handle all that so we need to focus on just the one part. I think that was actually the hardest part for me: keeping my leg off of him! I had no idea what a tight leg I actually had. It would certainly help explain why I have a hard time with lateral work. I have nothing else left to give.
The second part that really got through to me, was how C explained “catching and fixing” when Gus inverts. He talked about it in trends. Like, is Gus trending towards being hollow? If so, fix it. If he’s trending towards staying supple and nice, leave it alone. And it worked!
You’ll notice that my reins are VERY long in these videos. This was actually at C’s request. We are not even working on contact right now. We are just working on relaxing and rhythm and suppleness. It might take a long time to establish this foundation but it will be worth it.