Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lesson #118: Dressage!

My trot warm ups are more composed and I get on Ariel with conviction, control and confidence. And you know what? I can feel her being more agreeable with me. However, as soon as we move into canter work, things get messy and she fights me and falls in. Apparently I'm not the only one with that problem... one of the other adult riders told me (her daughter was riding Ariel at one point but seems to have moved onwards to another gelding) that she has the same issues with Ariel when she rides her. At least I know it's not just me. I mean it is "me" but I'm not the only one experiencing issues.

Anyway, I struggle with Ariel at the canter and I have to really man-handle her to get her deep into the corners. I do pulse my inside leg on her and it helps. It takes a lot more than me pulsing once she's falling in though... I have to prepare as I'm coming into the corner with a reminder and continue with some pulsing and pushing her back out and I just let her do her thing if she's doing as she's being told. But I have to be quick if I feel that she's starting to fall back in or lean or get naughty.

Today's lesson: a command lesson. At least that's what I think Sheri called it. No jumping today, we focused on flat work exclusively. It's the first time we've done something like this. At first, we start out on the rail and we merely do as we are told--kind of like Simon says. We haven't worked on a lot of technical moves like shoulder-in, leg yielding (just on occasion), pirouette, collected canter etc. Right now, we're doing things like walk (both collected and extended), trot (collected sitting and extended/working), canter, turn on the forehand. It's simple stuff in terms of items considered separately but putting it all together with smooth and instantaneous transitions at the letter is challenging.

Our first turn at it has all three of us, K, +ADW and I out on the rail just doing what we're told. One we finish this, we take turns. I'm first. And everything is fine until we have to do canters. The transitions are not smooth nor on cue; often they are speedy trots leading into the canter. Other times they are cutting corners and just zipping around in an unbalanced mode. I know my cues and I know what I'm supposed to do but I don't always translate that correctly to our friend Ariel.

Sheri adds that at this point the type of showing we should consider are things like dressage tests since we still need work on jumping courses. It does feel nice to know that I'm moving forward in my learning/training though! And this is just the "training level"... our aim is to be so on the letter and so close to the end of the rails that things look effortless and you don't hear me cursing and muttering under my breath when things go wrong.

ADW and K take their turns and are doing varying things too. When we finish, Sheri tells us our homework for the week is to look up some training level dressage tests that have things like trot, canter, walk and some basic turn on the forehand or such. Nothing about leg yielding or the such at this point. I have been checking out the FEI and EC for some but so far (really, just this evening) nothing suitable has really turned out. When I find something good, I"ll be sure to post some up, of what we're going to be working on in the next few weeks/months :)

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