A torrential down pour that turned into heavy wet flurries which lead to a closed road kept us from skiing this afternoon. It would have been my first time for the season so that was a little sad but, at the same time, I am very glad we didn’t get up there and then stuck at the resort! Especially since we had the puppy locked in the hallway and no way for anyone to get in and rescue him. We’ll have to fix that asap.
Yesterday I had one of those lessons that make you think, “Maybe I should just give up those dreams of jumping prelim one day.” It wasn’t that Dandy was being naught or anything, I just couldn’t seem to do anything right and I was getting so frustrated at myself.
We started with our flat work and that actually went really really well. We were getting some good bending and some soft action in the bridle. I was really happy at that point. Then we moved onto the grid that I had helped Madchen set up on Tuesday so that I could work on my posture. Madchen had me working on sitting up and waiting for Dandy to jump which is one of those basics that I have lost. *Sigh*
But everything seemed to fall apart for me when we started turning in from the right. I could not get Dandy to bend which led us to approach the grid crooked which led to refusals. And I kept doing it! Since Madchen was worried about teaching Dandy to refuse, she put us back on the circle but then I was having problems getting him to go where I wanted to. I kept getting yelled at to organize myself and planning my turns; riding five strides ahead. I don’t know what was wrong with me but I was pretty frustrated with myself at the end.
But at the end we got a pretty good run through the grid with no refusals.
There are things in this last run through that I really like. Basically that I am sitting up and am not way over jumping. I still need to majorly work on my release instead of just opening my fingers and letting the reins fall through. And I also need to work on not falling to the left. One step at a time!
Today was a much better dressage lesson though apparently I got the time wrong. Oops! Oh well, luckily Kristen came to the barn early. The first thing we did in the lesson was put both sides of the Vienna reins up. Dandy was such a good boy! While he was very tense he didn’t at all panic and rear. He did very well. The best part about doing it with Kristen was that she pointed out what I was really looking for: the over stepping. When Dandy relaxed he was stepping with his hind end over his front footstep by about three inches! It was super cool to see.
After doing both sides, I hopped on and started the lesson. We worked with the stretching which I think is really improving. Then we got to the hard stuff, bending and moving off my leg. Ugh. Talk about getting frustrated for a different reason! Eventually Kristen took us off the 20m circle and had us work down the long line as it is easier for Dandy and easier for me to feel when he dives in. By the end Dandy was starting to move off my leg but it did take a lot of kicking and taps of the whip to teach him that yes, I do mean move over NOW. Might have to put the spurs back on.
Still, I was super super happy with the progress we’ve made in the dressage sand box. Especially when my lessons with Kristen have not been consistent at all. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep taking lessons and improving like we have been. At the very least, I now have more tools to help us.