My lesson last night, the first in quite a few weeks, was amazing. Dandy has been in full training for the last two weeks and has been learning quite a lot. JLE is the right trainer for him at this moment in time and I’m so pleased with the progress she’s already made in such a short time.
It’s amazing to me how none of my trainers have ever really liked Dandy when they first met him. With Madchen she thought he was a skinny gangly ottb and it wasn’t until I really started working with her that she realized how talented he was. I feel like it’s the same with JLE. It’s not that either of them disliked Dandy but the minute they start really working with him that they realize they love him. JLE told me yesterday that Dandy is incredibly athletic, catty and smart. That he had more talent then I’d probably ever need or utilize. And while I always figured he had the raw talent to get to the upper levels, it’s nice to hear that from someone who has been there.
But then she ruined it by saying I was lucky he wasn’t a mare because then he’d probably be too opinionated to be an good amateur horse.
Anyway, back to the lesson. It started with me wanting to discuss what I wanted out of all of this. Yes I want Dandy to be a better horse and to not go to rearing as his answer. More than that though, I’ve realized that I want this. I want to event. I want to get to prelim. I want an independent seat and soft hands. And I don’t want to let my fear ruin this for me. So I told JLE to give me her worst, don’t take it easy on me. And she did.
I was really amazed at how much more connection I was able to get from Dandy, even with my unsteady and unmoving elbows. For once I actually felt like Dandy was willing to take the outside rein and it was a beautiful feeling. I have to be very conscious when I’m riding to mis things up. With Dandy I can’t stay on the circle indefinitely because he gets bored. So that might mean two loops of the circle and then going large down the full arena to circle on the other end. Or mix it up with serpentines and change of directions.
We can now also start really working on doing the leg yields. I know the basics of how to do a leg yield but I don’t think anyone has every really told me where my legs should be or my hands or my seat. JLE finally did. While I was correctly exaggerating the opening of the outside rein so Dandy would have something to move into, I was also blocking him from going anywhere by trying to enforce the bend with my inside hand. Instead JLE had me not really open my inside rein but to hold it out. Magically Dandy moved over. They’re clearly not 10s yet (or even 7s) but I’m so happy we actually got them!
Next we went back to my dreaded canter transitions. Ugh. While JLE had said that my confidence and comfort was way better at getting Dandy’s new, large striding working trot, my canter transitions had gone a little backwards. Ooops. To be fair, I was also trying to do it more from my seat and less from every other part of my body. Dandy’s canter is just so huge and it’s a lot to put together.
This weekend I hope to do some jumping with Dandy. Next week he’ll get a trainer ride Monday – Thursday and then I’ll ride Friday and Saturday while the barn is at a HT. Should be a good week. That’s if I can keep everything together now that I’m working full time. It’s hard to go from having my entire day free to having a job!