I don’t really know of any other sport or activity where the goal posts are constantly moving further away than riding. The better you are, the more there is you still have to learn.
My hands continue to be a frustration. For one thing, my thumb is still hurting; I’m probably just impatient but I’m not entirely confident there isn’t something more seriously wrong. Brace for two more weeks. I can email my doctor before then if it gets bad.
I walked into the barn last Thursday and took a deep sniff… the air had changed and the smell was different. And immediately I felt all the dread, because if this winter is like last winter here in DC, I will never get to ride. I did get a lot of time off from work though, which is kind of fun. Your tax dollars at work.
Burns got his mane pulled, and he looks so handsome! We are very fortunate to have a student at the farm who is now a college freshman, and she does all things braiding, mane pulling, etc. Burns’ nice braids for the Seneca Valley show were done by her. She did his mane, too, and it came out great. It doesn’t hurt also that she’s super cheap for usual braiding standards. Burns is also getting super fluffy – he already have what most horses would consider their full winter coat, which means it’s soon going to be time to clip again. He had a trace clip last year done by one of the other instructors at the farm and it was quite wonderful, because he can be a sweaty, sweaty beast.
Our last few lessons have been generally successful, even though I feel like a sack of potatoes my last few rides. Last Monday I micro-managed enough to make him chip (he has always been a 100% long spot kind of guy) almost every fence AND make him mad. Usually his hissy fits have more to do with working when he doesn’t want to, so there is a definite improvement in work ethic that he is having a hissy fit about me keeping him from doing his job correctly. Doesn’t look well on me, though, hence feeling like a sack of potatoes.
But, you know, it was a 3′ course and several people said we looked really good, so, at the end of the day I can’t be too unhappy. It was just weird, because they were simple outside-diagonal single-outside-diagonal single and it was pretty terrible for my part. He was on point and amazing though.
Thursday was just all bad. At least it felt bad. This is where most of the frustration is coming from – I couldn’t get my hands out of it enough to be consistent. And funnily enough, I did steal a look in the mirror at one point and was impressed by my back/seat/leg shape (as in, I looked like a real dressage rider). Wtf mates. So maybe it felt much worse than it looked, and my trainer and I are just getting really nitpicky (these are not bad things). The downward transitions for everything though were just terrible. I have this terribly awkward habit of moving my hands back and just dropping my seat into his back… ready for this… sack of potatoes style. Yup.
This all solidifies my “constant lunge lessons” theory for all of the winter. I asked for one last night again and made solid progress. My trainer had me working on downward transitions again, but since I had no hands, at least I couldn’t fuss with them. She had me practice sucking his back up into my seat and walking my hips, and there were a few really nice downwards. We also worked a lot on sitting trot, in which I was getting the hang of not collapsing my upper body and still relaxing enough to stay with the motion, all while keeping my outside shoulder further back and knee loose.
Also holy crap she made me double post. This is something I make my students do all the time. I need more practice, because I failed miserably. I imagine I need to two-point more often as well. As well as work on galloping position. Sigh.
No stirrups november is going to be VERY necessary.
I guess the one nice thing is my trainer said after our nicest/last 3′ course last Monday we should just skip Beginner Novice and head straight for Novice. HA HA HA funny. (I need an actual nice dressage test first.)