So last Saturday was GORGEOUS. Sunday was not. The temperature plunged. The only good thing was it was supposed to rain all day and didn’t but the breeze was cold and the temps were low and the sky, it was gray and angry. But a lessoning, we were a going! I hadn’t ridden with Emily Donaldson for a few weeks at least and was eager to get back to the ‘we need to bend this way, and yes you need to go forward’ ritual we often do in lessons!
The warm weather was long gone but the rain that threatened was not in evidence so at least we weren’t soaked getting loaded and unloaded. I always tack up saddle-wise before hauling so that was done. Remus is so great to haul by himself, self loads etc. BUT once you are somewhere new tacking him up is not as easy on your own (he likes to be all looky and WHAT is over there and WHAT IS THAT there so easier adjust the saddle once we arrive).
Arriving in the arena, we walked around a bit to loosen up. A friend’s mare came in to ride in there and was twitching across her rump it was that much colder than the day before so she had to walk around a few laps with Remus’ honeycomb rug draped across her much larger body.
Remus started warming up fine and at least had more energy than the day before (AKA anything is better than nothing)! The issue du jour seemed to be the forward button (I had spurs but he was not happy to move forward plus I also had the trusty dressage whip). You can push Remus so far and if he gets pissed he bucks or kicks out. He doesn’t do it all the time but you got to gauge how far he is pushed. A quick tap of the whip works better than bugging him nonstop in the spurs. He is actually less lazy than he used to be so we are getting there we just get stuck once in a while.
We also have issues with the bend (as there ain’t none)! He knows how to move from behind now and he even knows how to bend and relax into the bit but he doesn’t like doing it all at one time and over and over. His trot has gotten more steady and his canter is getting there slowly but we have a few great strides when everything is just right then he raises his head or pops his shoulder out. Grhhh.
Emily has to tell me a thousand tasks too because I can’t remember them all (thumbs pointing out, no piano hands, sit back, shoulders back, elbows in, legs forward and so and so). I think sometimes she has to think I don’t speak English as my native language!!
But she earns her money with me for sure. This lesson we did a lot of circling at the trot, due to Mr I can’t possibly bend my nose that way’s refusal to ahem..bend. But he started to get a bit better. Of course about the time we get better, I needed a walk break before I passed out. Keeping that buckskin going is harder than it looks.
Once we got our trot reasonable we did some canter work. Um we tried to do some canter work? Cause that canter departure? Not only was not in the same state as me it was not in the same country! ARGHH. I was so sore from my jump lesson the day before i didn’t think how hard it would be to finesse a dressage lesson after that. My thighs were killing me and when I went to do the canter aids I would literally flop forward and my heels would press back on him and we would…..trot….faster. It was like I not only forgot how to speak/talk/listen to English I seemed to forget how to RIDE. Big sigh.
We did get it but it felt like I was all loosey goosy up there and could not get a steady base at all. Our circles were decent and he was even yielding some and following around the bend BUT my legs were dying and i knew he was going to break any moment…..yep. And so then we would have to start again.
Somehow we finished the lesson in a decent mood and Emily did not shun us from ever coming ever again (I keep waiting for it!). We talked a bit about what to work on (More forward, more bend, more paying attention to my aids and my thumbs and all that jazz).
So, I had the lesson and went home and then promptly didn’t get to ride again for 4-5 days due to a bad work week and bad weather and you name it).
I love riding with Emily and really think she is the bee’s knees. But one day, I would love to ride with her and feel that I don’t need 20 minutes of getting everything wrong to get to 20 minutes of mediocre! Anyone else feel like that? It was a good lesson but it is always an eye opener on how far we still have to go.
Next time: We went to the combined test and scored satin (thank goodness he jumps well! Baby steps.)