So my lesson got switched from Thursday to Friday and you guys, Dandy was AMAZING last night. Like so amazing that I felt ready to waltz into that dressage arena and just blast out tens for every move. Okay, maybe not tens. But eights at least!
We started off the lesson at a walk where I was making sure that I had the correct amounts of pressure but at the same time being soft in my elbows and asking for forward. JLE and I had a good conversation about how sometimes I just need to let him keep walking until he’s willing to be nice but honestly, Dandy was giving me such lovely connection that I probably didn’t need to spend as much time at the walk as I did. When we moved into the trot I did get a moment of resistance at the transition but I put my aids on (aka LEG) and kept going.
Most of the lesson was done at the trot and for the most part I had a wonderful soft Dandy underneath me. He wasn’t perfect every step and I was constantly having to think about every aspect of my own body to encourage the best use of his body. More leg than hand but a soft elbow. I can brace when he does as long as I put twice as much leg on as the hand I’m using. And release my half-halts or I can’t do a second one.
When we were doing figures, really when I do any movement in the arena, I have to be more conscious about setting Dandy up with a little half-halt to say “hey, we’re going to do something different.” The first few times I was changing direction or doing a circle instead of going large around the arena I wasn’t giving him a heads up and Dandy would get offended. I started doing my half-halts more consistently and then got some great changes with no head tossing.
We even did some pretty nice leg yields. Going to the right was a lot easier for me for some reason, probably because Dandy is just much stiffer to the right than the left.
The lesson ended with some less than stellar canter transitions but some really nice canter. I have to retrain myself to think “Scoop with the seat, forward with the leg, pulse the rein, release” every step of the canter, plus add bend. But by the end I was seeing huge progress with my own riding and Dandy was going great. It left both JLE and I excited for the upcoming show season.
Now I just need to get the boy back out with me so I can get some new video.
In other news… I’m coming up on 300 posts! How exciting! I’m looking to do a contest when I reach it so keep watching for that.