The following day after our showjumping lesson, we squeezed in a dressage lesson with Eliza. Since it had been a month before that we had our last lesson, it was good to check in and visit some of what we have been working on.
We started with free walk to working walk transitions, and then halt to walk transitions without using his neck, then the same at the trot. It was quite windy and at first it felt like his neck was a short steel bar, but after lots of transitions within and between the gaits, followed by inside to outside bend on a circle, he eventually loosened up a bit.
Many of the things we worked on we have done before. Shoulder-in and renvers, and inserting 10 meter circles whenever he gets stiff. These 10 meter circles have been somewhat tricky for us, so mentally (and sometimes physically) I need to ride them as two halves, even it that means riding half a circle, going straight until he’s soft, then riding the second half of the circle. The renvers are still hard for me as I work on my coordination with weighted inside seat, shoulders and leg placement, but it was easier than the first time we did it so I’m counting that as a win.
For me, the highlight of the lesson was again the walk-canter transitions, which continue to improve. I do need to sit deep and down into the transition to help him with the first strides, and be quicker in my aids to the left so we don’t get a jump into a trot transition instead of canter. Keeping my upper body strong, shoulders back and swinging my seat with the movement will allow him to establish balance on his hind end and a true three-beat gait.
My new dressage anthem(?):
As per usual, a few added tidbits to remember:
- Try wearing gloves, supposedly they will help me keep my wrists soft and hands closed (ugh, but I don’t wanna!)
- On the note of closed hands- this article popped into my news feed on the ‘dressage fist’
- Keep my upper arms vertical, feel the edge of my shirt, let elbows hang (dammit. have got to work on this)
- Move those hips!
Foster will now be getting a few days off after getting his hocks injected. After all these exciting videos (thanks J and A) it might be a boring couple of days ahead!