Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's all about flexion

Last Wednesday I had a fantastic lesson with Carolyn - our first lesson with her in almost 3 months.  I had pretty low expectations and was honestly expecting to have a bit of come to Jesus session.  But never fear, the WonderPony was fantastic.  

When I'm stressed, I prefer to go for walks.  Charlie and I have been doing a lot of walking lately.  Not to mention, he got about a week off between finals, my drill weekend, and my trip to DC.  I flatted him a few times before our lesson and found him to be a bit heavy and somewhat stiff in his jaw.  I didn't really force the issue since he's been on a bit of a vacation.  

I got to Julie's farm a bit earlier then usual since he hadn't been off the property in over a month and I wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to settle if he needed it.  It was pretty busy so I was glad I got there a bit early.  Charlie was pretty good and settled down nicely - he even stood tied to the trailer, calmly observing another horse refusing to get on the trailer.  Good pony!

I got on and warmed-up while Carolyn was finishing-up Julie's lesson.  Charlie was good but a bit pokey.  I've started riding with spurs in addition to the dressage whip (I promise he won a race!) and they've really helped me to nudge him up into the bridle.  As my lesson started, Carolyn really complimented me on how connected he was and how supple he looked.  I just about fell off - I didn't think he felt awful but certainly wasn't expecting that kind of praise.  Because of our lack of fitness, we spent a fair amount of time talking about theory.  The biggest theme of the lesson was flexion - Carolyn felt like I was riding Charlie too straight which allowed him to dump the connection with the outside rein.  Now, I've struggled with the concept of flexion because I'm always afraid of having too much flexion and losing his shoulder.  Carolyn told me that as long I maintain connection with the outside rein, I shouldn't have to worry about keeping his shoulder in line.  The other question I had was about overbending.  Now, way back in the dark ages, I was taught to overbend as a way to supple during the warm-up.  I haven't really used this with Charlie although it has been brought up in lessons with some other people.  I just kind of feel like it throws him off balance - I thought this was because I was doing something wrong but Carolyn said because he's so long and all overbending really does is make him longer.  Not what we're trying to accomplish.  So once I had the concept of what was the appropriate amount of flexion, we rocked just about everything!  It was a really fabulous feeling. 

End of our dressage test at our last show since I have no photographic evidence of our awesome lesson.  Such a good pony!

Thursday was rain and Friday, it was gale force winds so SuperMom and I went shopping for some last minute items.  I thought I was going to be able to ride on Saturday but I ended up playing hurry up and wait for most of the day.  I had called about some round bales on Wednesday with the plan to pick one up Saturday AM but the folks I called on Wednesday were apparently not around on Saturday.  Grrrr...  So back to Craigslist I went and found another source who happened to be right down the street instead of 30 min away like the other ones I had called on.  Score!  Only downside is I had to wait until 1230 to meet the guy and by the time everything was all said and done, it was too late to ride and still make my study date.  :(

Round bale!

 I did get a chance to ride this morning and Charlie was quite good.  I practiced the flexion and as long as I maintain my contact with the outside rein, Charlie maintains the connection.  My next step is to add some lateral work as well as asking Charlie to sit more with his hind end.

Just because he's cute!


  1. Love the pictures of you guy, I hope that you guys have fun working on your next goal!

  2. Interesting about the over bending in relation to length - my mare is quite long too so that is definitely a perspective i'll explore more. I get a kick over the fact that people advertise hay over craigslist, but hey I guess it makes sense :)

    1. Agree - it made total sense when she said it but it's a bit of a paradigm shift for me.

      I was a bit nervous to buy something off Craigslist (it was a first for me) but it all worked out in the end. The guy was really nice but I was totally sketched out and made my mom come with me. I told her to stay in the truck just in case ;) Can we say paranoia? Haha!

  3. These long horss are tricky! I grew up on the world's most compact TB and she was way easier to deal with.

    That said, she could spin and bolt with the best of 'em. Merry Christmas!

  4. So lucky you have so many round bale options - here we jump on ANY round bale available. Charlie looks in great in that pic - I am surprised you have shows you don't braid at though, that does non exist around here. It would be nice lol.

  5. ooo Charlie says thanks for the round bale! lol