Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Connection, connection, connection...

I'm beginning to hate that word!

In case you forgot or couldn't figure it out by title, today was dressage lesson day!  And the theme was...


So connection (which in my mind is a 4 letter word) is the name of the game when it comes to getting Charlie to use himself correctly.  And you know what?  It takes an INSANE amount of leg from me.  Holy calf and hamstring muscles!  I was squeezing so much to push him into the connection, I thought I was going to squeeze his eyeballs out.  

Ok, enough drama.  Carolyn had us work on establishing the bend/flexion (pick your poison) with the inside rein/leg, the outside leg was there to keep him from escaping out the side door and to make sure he was going forward and in the mean time, the outside rein is just supposed to be patiently waiting until he's ready to fill it.  The goal was to push him into the outside rein.  Once he's ready (and I really have to wait until he's ready - this is the key!), the outside rein asks him to come round.  I can't even begin to tell you the amount of leg this takes.  Once he accepts the outside rein, it's my job to keep it consistent (oh, how I struggle with this!).  The consistency creates something he can depend on and therefore creates trust between the two of us.  So when we end up a show and he's nervous, he should be able to trust that outside rein will always be there for him.  Talk about a lot of pressure for me!

He was quite good in the trot towards the end.  The walk is still a work in progress and the canter was a bit suspect (but that's mostly because I was so pooped) but he was really good as long as I was steady in my outside rein and maintaining the bend/flexion with my inside aids.  I'm tired just reading that sentence.  I need to be better coordinated...

All in all, it was a really great lesson.  I learned some stuff and have a lot to work on which is awesome - I feel renewed!  Even better, Charlie and I are going to go to a dressage show in about 3 weeks and Carolyn will be there so she'll be able to help me with show warm-up strategy.  Yay!  

So I need to be better about taking pictures because I keep forgetting to take pictures of the place we go to take dressage lessons.  It's a privately owned barn and the owner, Julie, is kind enough to let other folks come and ride there for free.  Super generous!  

So since I didn't take a picture of Julie's very cute farm, I took a picture of the wine of the evening:


Now, if you know where it's from, don't judge too harshly.  It's actually pretty good!

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