Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2/14/10 Ransom Over Rails Dressage

Whatta title, huh?

I got pressed to hurry by the threat of rain in the forecast, so I scrambled out to the barn. I grabbed Ransom, and saddled him up dressage. With the notion it was going to rain, and I had to hurry, without a pair of eyes to watch my fences, I chose dressage.

R showed up as we were warming up. I was working out a few "kinks" from the HM taping. The assistant trainer suggested I ride him out on a loose rein "on the buckle." I've done this before, a while, and wanted to repeat the work. In my dressage seat, it's gotten easy to ignore "me", because I feel pretty balanced. Instead, I focused very hard on leaving the reins out, and ride whatever he gave me.

Ransom started out a little speedie & choppy. He settled really nice. I had my arms stretched out "airplane style", and then I put my hands up on my helmet. I rode trot with my hands off the reins totally, rising & sitting. I used light contact on for the transitions in and out of canter, but rode the canter on the buckle. I had most of the direction changes going on with just my legs, but honestly, it felt like the trot direction was happening with my seat & eyes. Now that is a neat feeling!

Since all the gaits were riding smooth and light, I picked up really light contact. He immediately stretched down, and rested gently on the bit, without pulling on my hands. I played with some changes in the gaits, half-halts, and everything I cued, he was picking up & responding to. Neat!

Set up the trot poles. Because, why not?! He was being a good boy. I figured trot poles, I can work on release, he can work on steady-goes, and it's something other than boring circles. He trotted over them without any changes. He'd take bigger strides for the poles, then settle right back again. How awesome! I hopped out of the tack, shortened my stirrups two holes, and figured, "oh why not?! It can't be that bad!"

We set up the cross rail, heading right. I worked up to a nice light trot, half-seat, approached the x, half-halt at the ground pole 5ft before it, and released.

Jump! Sweet one, too. I unfortunately sat back down in the tack too soon, and hit his mouth on the landing. So sorry buddy! I shook it off, and committed to myself the following..

My shoulders won't be perfect for a while
Neither will my back
Or my legs
But I will Quit Hitting him on the mouth!
I concentrated really hard on the release & staying in two point the rest of the ride.

I probably rode that X about six times. Our last hopover was really sweet - light go, soft depart, soft landing, a few short strides at canter. I kept my release until he had all four hooves back on the ground, and rode the canter in two point to make sure I stayed up.

Total ride? About an Hour. And, no, it never rained.... A cold front came in, but not until nearly 6:00pm, nearly three hours after my ride.

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