Thursday, July 10, 2008

7-9 Lesson

Arena, Sir Chubacca. Whatta horse.. whatta very very good horse.

All that time working with Romeo taught me one huge lesson - Getting up the gumption & courage to firmly thump on the horse of the day. Chewie's lunge warmup, even with side reins, has been really good. He's got a great Tigger Trot going on, and a nice gentle canter. It's almost impressive, watching him warm himself up, trot getting bigger & better by the stride, canter freeing up his rear end, then back to a nice floaty trot those dressage-horses-for-sale ads always talk about.

Climbed on, worked out my muscle-bugs on walk. As soon as I asked for trot, I got a sassy-pants. Two-year-old in the candy store aisle screaming, "Mom, I don't want to!!" So I did what I've been doing for about the last week, a firm slap just in front of his withers with one hand, reins in the other. Chewie tosses his head, throws his tail, gets back to work, and then lazily drifts back to a temper tantrum. A few slaps later, I have his attention.

Robin & I focused on GAG II & III, talking through the 2-loop serpentine. Solution? I was making it MUCH harder than it really is. We've been working so hard on difficult movements and walk, and trot, keeping the canter relaxed & simple, that the simple two loop was nearly too much for our minds. Robin jogged the pattern a few times, each direction, and my lightbulb brain clicked on. We also worked through GAG III's horrid "20M circle at trot, with 2-5 steps of walk when crossing the centerline", and made a plan for the next few days before Sunday's next lesson. I'm going to work on the transitions, but on the rail. Give the boy the chance to "trot off" for a while, get that good energy chi flowing, then ask for a brief transition at walk, 2-5 steps, and right back to trot, back to a solid "work". This will be less mentally taxing for him than the little "less than half a circle trot" he gets to do between one walk & the next on that 20M circle. The lightbulb also went off as Robin explained how to improve my up & down transitions without the head-tossing fits. They're slowed down, uber-mini half-halts. AH HAH! That clears it up! Subtle half-halts... so the HDS crew, designing this test, apparently decided that lower-level riders weren't developing good half-halts, and put the test together to teach them in a slower fashion. I get it now!!! Darn me for already learning what they are, already understanding them from a few cross-country course lessons, because again, I was over-thinking each transition.

The newspaper crew, in all their liberal-gibberish garbage, says the rains are coming to a close for us for a while. Let's hope they're right - the show's in about a week & half, and I can't afford too many more "right light for the weather days".

It's "Friday" at work - I'm off tomorrow, and I'm grateful for that... Need the break. Anybody wanna hire a competent chemist? I've only got a small house, and an ark-ful of four legged family members to move... *giggle*


Pony Girl said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Looks like you are having a successful time learning to ride. Your geldings are gorgeous (oops, handsome! :)
Love that you ended the sassy- pants with a slap. Sometimes, my horse just needs a stern voice "ah-ah!" and then he knows I'm still up there and he has to mind.

Jennifer said...

Gorgeous... excellent ..

I'm going to tell Chewie that next time he's decked out in his turquoise polos & saddle pad...

Fairy-horse! :)