Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dressage Lesson - Take II

So I had another dressage lesson today with Carolyn.  And it was awesome!  I think her strength really lies in that she doesn't try to fix everything at once.  Janna pointed that out to me and I really think she's right.  I watched some of the video (thanks Mom!) and I can definitely see Charlie's haunches swinging out but right now Carolyn wants us to focus on going forward and accepting the contact.  I guess this is why dressage folks are perfectionists and eventers are jacks of all trades!  They master one thing at a time whereas we try to master everything at once.

So we started out at the walk again and I forgot one very important component!  When I pick up the contact, I use the inside rein to establish the bend and stay very soft on the outside rein so he doesn't feel trapped.  Totally a lightbulb moment!  As we moved into the trot, it was really all about using the image of the inchworm (a half-halt) to push Charlie rounder.  Carolyn says the goal of the half-halt is always to push the horse rounder.  And holy crap did it work!  I don't think my mom got the best stuff on video where you can really see the half-halt working it's magic - she got the tail-end of the lesson.  He was pretty good; a little ADHD as we were in a new location but still pretty good once he settled in.  I ran through one of the BN tests just for fun - we were both a little tired and his fun meter was definitely pegged but he tried really hard and that's all that really matters.  Here are the links for the videos - shorter videolonger video, and the test.

Almost forgot!  Our lesson today was at a private backyard farm (backyard meaning it's only the owner's horses) owned by a very nice lady named Julie.  It's actually in the town next door so it's only a 25 minute drive instead of a 50 minute drive.  Very convenient!  It was really great for Charlie to be somewhere new - like I said earlier, he was a little silly in the beginning but he settled right down and got to work.

I'm going to Aiken this weekend - Cherie will be down there showing her 15.2 hh quarter horse stallion (he's not really her's - he belongs to a very nice lady named Bev.  Cherie's just lucky and gets to ride him!) in a mini prix.  This horse is so nice!  You'd never in a million years guess he was a stallion.  He's super athletic - he started out as a reining horse, switched it up to eventing and competed (and placed) at prelim, competed at 3rd level dressage and now does the jumpers with hopes of contesting a grand prix this summer.  What can't this horse do?!?!  

Cherie and Justin this summer.

Cherie and Justin winning a mini prix a couple of years ago.
So the plan is to go cross country schooling at Paradise Farm on Saturday and maybe Full Gallop on Sunday if she has time before her class.  Should be fun!  Maybe I'll actually get a little tour of Aiken since I've never really been there before.  I've only been to Jumping Branch; I've never gone downtown or anywhere else for that matter.

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